Motley stories that engage, provoke, and entertain.

A VIEW FROM THE BORDERLINE

A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES

A collection of tales that involve a quirky hodgepodge of comedy, romance, and satire from the author of A Shot of Malaria (2014).

In the opening story in this book, “Silver Slum Dog,” Leonard meets Hilda at a horse racetrack. The new acquaintances seem to connect, but Leonard may be too preoccupied with validating his betting system despite Hilda’s instinctual skill at picking winners—a situation described in a lighthearted tone, which all the tales herein showcase in some capacity but not every story maintains. In “Eloi Reduction,” Red Pupkin, a drunk well known to authorities, is determined to get into a popular Hollywood Boulevard club and simply dashes past the gatekeepers. That amusing setup turns horrifying when a police officer chases him—and encounters a scene of shockingly sadistic violence. Some of the author’s satire shows wit even when it’s bleak. In the case of “The Parable of the Nerd & the Antelope,” antelopes in Africa introduce human ideas into their midst but, like humanity, are soon in danger of spiraling into war and violence. Souby’s breezy prose eases readers into the assorted narratives, though it’s most effective with the handful of varied love stories. The titular tale, “Christa’s Case: A View From the Borderline,” is a romance between prep school students in 1973, one of whom a doctor has diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. This story is followed by one of love lost; in “Attack of the Poker Face,” Teddy is certain he understands how his wife tips her hand, a “little tell with her left nostril whenever she was bluffing,” and he uses this conviction to prove she’s having an affair. Souby periodically returns to a theme of warmongering humans versus the more peaceful animal kingdom; though the collection leans toward despondency, his final two stories end the book on positive notes.

Motley stories that engage, provoke, and entertain.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-59169-8

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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