A ghost-hunting tale that should keep readers guessing until the final page; suspenseful and genre-bending.

A Bitter Frost

A series of unsettling home invasions pushes a 42-year-old woman to the brink of insanity in this debut paranormal thriller.

Laurel Frost seems to have it all. Her husband, Cameron, is a high-powered defense attorney. And as a couple, they want for nothing: sports cars, a membership at a swanky country club, and a 5,000-square-foot McMansion in the country. But for the past several months, whenever Laurel leaves her home, she returns to find items out of place. In recent weeks, the mysterious intruder has turned bolder, sneaking into the couple’s bedroom in the still of the night. But no matter how many new security cameras, locks, and alarm systems are installed, the trespasser continues to elude detection, leading the police and Laurel’s own family to question her mental health. With the phantom intruder’s visits becoming increasingly violent, Laurel must take matters into her own hands before she loses her sanity and her marriage (“This had become something personal between she and the intruder, and she was going to handle it herself, her way”). This novel plays the field, providing equal parts psychological thriller, murder mystery, and paranormal fiction in one slim volume. Whether building dramatic tension or planting seeds of doubt, Schulden proves to be a more-than-able narrator. Twists and turns—including a grisly string of murders, a personal tragedy, and the introduction of a team of ghost hunters—keep this tale chugging along. But while the moving targets make for an engaging read, the book suffers from a few bumpy transitions. And instead of sprinkling her characters’ back stories throughout the text, the author tends to dole out exposition in chunks. Nonetheless, this novel—though somewhat unpolished—does not disappoint. Mystery aficionados will still find plenty of reasons to dig into Schulden’s multilayered plot.

A ghost-hunting tale that should keep readers guessing until the final page; suspenseful and genre-bending.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-615-74572-5

Page Count: 440

Publisher: Three Little Ladies Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2016

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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