First novel, by an ex-Green Beret, in which America's eagerness to cut the Colombian connection plays into the hands of the worst of the druglords—and it is up to one wiry little soldier and a tough CIA lady to stop the fiend before he owns Colombia outright. The daylight execution of a Colombian national in suburban Virginia—a terrorist act that mows down a dozen innocent American teen-agers—provokes a military response built on secret information received from Colombia's desperate president. Under orders from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Special Forces Col. Mike Pike, a Vietnam hero, sends a band of Green Berets headed by tough Chief Warrant Officer Riley to Colombia to identify and eliminate a couple of big cocaine labs. The first operation works like a charm, but on the second run it becomes evident that the dopers are on to them. There is an intelligence leak, and even though the next operation is moved up and secrecy is enhanced, the effort is a disaster. Riley alone makes it out of Colombia. Ring Man, the druglord whose rivals lost their labs and incomes, appears ready to move in on the only other power in the country—a very frightened President Alegre. And the American powers that be seem to have lost their will to go to war. But Mike Pike has not given up, and Warrant Officer Riley wants very much to go back to look for survivors. So does Kate Westland, the straight-shooting CIA agent with whom Riley has become rather comfortable. Lots of gadgets, lots of guts, lots of action, but not much subtlety. The male-female bonding in battle is of interest.

Pub Date: July 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-89141-414-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Presidio/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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