An entertaining and well-crafted addition to a dog-centric mystery series.

Muddy Mouth

A DOG PARK MYSTERY

From the Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries series , Vol. 5

Newsome (Sneak Thief, 2015, etc.) returns to the adventures of artist and canine lover Lia Anderson.

In this fifth Dog Park Mystery, Lia, the committed owner of two pooches—a miniature schnauzer and a golden retriever—is finally dating Detective Peter Dourson. She met Peter when he investigated the death of her boyfriend at the beginning of the series. But Lia and Peter haven’t had enough time to enjoy each other’s company because she has been commissioned to build a float for the Northside’s famous Fourth of July Parade. Shaped like “a giant Browning Buckmark .22 pistol,” the float means to celebrate the work of local Cincinnati crime novelist Lucas Cross, even though he vanished while attending an authors’ convention in Austin, Texas, at the beginning of June. It’s a strange situation, but, as Lia notes, even if Cross is still missing by the time of the parade, the gun “will only be in slightly worse taste than the usual Northside parade float. [Cross’] books are coming out next month, regardless.” When the accountant of the Cross-affiliated knitting club that commissioned the float is inexplicably attacked one night in an alley, the sense of foul play begins to grow. Lia must put down her artist’s cap and return to her role as amateur investigator in hopes of discovering the truth behind Cross’ disappearance before anyone gets killed. Newsome writes with flair and humor, balancing the tension of the novel’s mystery against the lighthearted backdrop of the Mount Air dog park. The charmingly idiosyncratic characters—human and animal both—set the book apart from more noirish works, and the slight goofiness (parade floats, knitting circles) puts the reader pleasantly off balance. The stakes are never so high that the reader feels anxious, but the author delivers an inventive plot and a sharp and compelling protagonist. Dog-obsessed readers in particular should enjoy this riff on the whodunit genre that keeps its canines central to the action in a way pet owners likely feel is lacking in other works of fiction.

An entertaining and well-crafted addition to a dog-centric mystery series.

Pub Date: April 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9963742-4-8

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Two Pup Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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