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THE BIG FINISH

A moving, funny, and ultimately hopeful look at what makes life meaningful.

In Fossey's debut, a grumpy assisted living resident realizes his life still has surprises in store.

Duffy Sinclair, 88, knows he didn’t make the most of his life. He spent years of it as an alcoholic, but in his sober old age he’s finally found a home at Centennial, an assisted living facility. He has a best friend—his roommate, Carl, who shares everything with him. He has crushes and nemeses and playful banter with the staff members. Things are perfect—except that Centennial’s new owner will use any excuse to kick residents out so she can rent their rooms for more money, leaving them no option but a poorly run nursing home. Duffy tries to be on his best behavior and stay in line—but then a young woman tumbles through his window. It turns out she’s Carl’s granddaughter—one Duffy never knew he had. She has a black eye, an alcohol problem, and nowhere to stay—and Carl thinks she should camp out in their room. Duffy knows that getting caught hiding an alcoholic 20-something would earn him an immediate one-way ticket out of Centennial, and at first he tells Carl and Josie no way. But as he gets to know Josie and see the kind of pain he knows all too well, Duffy realizes he might finally have a chance to make up for all those wasted years. Duffy is cantankerous, gruff, and occasionally unkind, but his head is always an entertaining place to be. It’s clear that he cares deeply about his friends and fellow Centennial residents, and it’s impossible not to root for him. Fossey manages to depict the struggles of the elderly, whose concerns aren’t often examined in fiction, in a way that’s both respectful and entertaining.

A moving, funny, and ultimately hopeful look at what makes life meaningful.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0493-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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SHELTER IN PLACE

Roberts’ newest is part thriller, part romance, part survivors’ psychological study with a touch of New Age magic—and a...

The victims of a mass shooting—including two young heroes from the tragedy—are moving forward in their lives, affected in different ways, when they're stunned to discover a serial killer is targeting survivors.

Simone Knox and Reed Quartermaine were both survivors of a mass shooting at a mall in Portland, Maine. Afterward, Simone, grateful to be alive, vows to be a better daughter and at first tries to conform to her parents’ conservative expectations. However, she soon realizes she’ll never be happy appeasing them and finally chooses to follow her artistic dreams in order to lead a more authentic life. Reed, inspired by Essie McVee, the first police officer on the scene, becomes a detective, eventually becoming Essie's partner and close friend. Years later, survivors of the massacre begin to die, and Reed is convinced the deaths are connected—but not even Essie takes him seriously until the killer targets him. Reed is wounded but survives, and suddenly everyone believes him. The cunning psychopath escapes into the ether, armed with money, lots of false identification, and a seething desire for revenge. Taking time to heal, Reed visits Tranquility Island, Maine, his childhood vacation spot, and falls in love with the place. He also meets a charismatic older woman who helps him land the house of his dreams and the position of police chief. Falling in love with her granddaughter, Simone—whom he had been aware of since the tragedy but had never met—seems like fate. Reed settles into his new job and hooks up with the FBI regarding the case, convinced their face-off has frustrated the vengeful killer. As heroic survivors, Reed and Simone are prime targets, and now that they’ve found each other, the stakes are higher than ever. Facing the hunter means fighting for their lives, love, and happiness while silencing the violent echoes of the worst day of their lives. Fascinating characters—Simone's grandmother is a standout—and a sprawling plot that covers a lot of ground yet keeps the reader engaged offer a surprisingly compelling and poignant redemption story that begins with a tragic mass shooting.

Roberts’ newest is part thriller, part romance, part survivors’ psychological study with a touch of New Age magic—and a lively, captivating read.

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-16159-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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AFTER I DO

Reid’s tome on married life is as uplifting as it is brutally honest—a must-read for anyone who is in (or hopes to be in) a...

An unhappily married couple spends a year apart in Reid’s (Forever, Interrupted, 2013) novel about second chances.

When we meet Lauren, she and her husband, Ryan, are having a meltdown trying to find their car in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium after a game. Through a series of flashbacks, Lauren reveals how the two of them went from being inseparable to being insufferable in each other’s eyes—and in desperate need of a break. Both their courtship and their fights seem so ordinary—they met in college; he doesn’t like Greek food—that the most heartbreaking part of their pending separation is deciding who will get custody of their good-natured dog. It’s not until Ryan moves out that the juicy details emerge. Lauren surreptitiously logs into his email one day, in a fit of missing him, and discovers a bunch of emails to her that he had saved but not sent. Liberated by Ryan’s candor, Lauren saves her replies for him to find, and the two of them read each other’s unfiltered thoughts as they go about their separate lives. Neither character holds anything back, which makes the healing process more complex, and more compelling, than simply getting revenge or getting one’s groove back. Meanwhile, as Lauren spends more time with her family and friends, she explores the example set for her by her parents and learns that there are many ways to be happy. It’s never clear until the final pages whether living alone will bring Lauren and Ryan back together or force them apart forever. But when the year is up, the resolution is neither sappy nor cynical; it’s arrived at after an honest assessment of what each partner can’t live with and can’t live without.

Reid’s tome on married life is as uplifting as it is brutally honest—a must-read for anyone who is in (or hopes to be in) a committed relationship.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1284-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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