A leisurely opening is mere preparation for the fierce struggle to follow—and it’s more than worth the wait.


A college student’s visions may be effective in a battle against demons in Baldwin’s (Fathers House, 2013) supernatural thriller.

Nineteen-year-old Kallie Hunt has been waking up most mornings with a strange sense of déjà vu. These feelings are so disturbing that she seeks help from the Rev. Johnny Swag. Swag, who belongs to the Alliance of Initiates, a secret subset of the United Religions Organizations, suspects that Kallie is a Rememberer—someone with an ability to see “past life cycles.” The A.I. uses a Rememberer to thwart terrorist attacks before they happen, but one has gone rogue, taunting the A.I. by mutilating the bodies of terrorists that a Rememberer has already killed and leaving behind cryptic messages. The Rogue, however, may be planning something that’s far worse than a potential terrorist strike. The first half of the novel feels muted, consisting mostly of lengthy exposition. But these scenes ultimately prove crucial to the plot, as many delve into weighty concepts such as time-cycles and eternal return—essentially that time is circular and a Rememberer is literally remembering, not necessarily seeing the future. While the first part is restrained, readers will welcome the unleashed latter half, even if it seems to come from nowhere. Characters, for instance, face off against demons, are besieged by demonic possessions, and launch a rescue attempt. Kallie is a fervent protagonist with an intriguing background; she lost her mother to cancer the year before and is estranged from her father. Her relationship with love interest Seth is sufficient if not predictable, but the standout among supporting characters is Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Dennard Bennett. He, like Kallie, has experienced loss—his wife and two daughters died in a plane crash— and watching his progress from investigating a simple murder case to an all-out demon war is, in many ways, more riveting than Kallie’s gradual revelation.

A leisurely opening is mere preparation for the fierce struggle to follow—and it’s more than worth the wait.

Pub Date: April 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0692356760

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ink-Stone Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2015

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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