EVER SO SILENT

AN EMMA THORNE MYSTERY

A high-quality murder mystery with a labyrinthine plot and a memorable heroine.

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In Little’s debut thriller, a small-town Connecticut cop investigates a series of murders that she suspects may have been committed by her missing spouse.

Officer Emma Thorne has been dealing with her husband Will Foster’s severe depression. Will, a Yale University professor, hasn’t taught a class in months and has hinted that he’s contemplating suicide. One day, Emma returns home to find that he’s inexplicably disappeared, leaving his wallet, identification, and cellphone behind. A search, with help from fellow officers, turns up nothing. After accepting the job of police chief—a position vacated after her father’s unexpected death—Emma hires private investigator Mark Byrne to focus on locating Will. Emma, meanwhile, is busy with a murder case; a guy whom she dated back in high school initially seems to be a suicide until Emma, working with a forensic pathologist, uncovers foul play. After more bodies are found that are clearly homicides, cops dub the killer “Mr. Sharpie,” as each victim is marked with a letter or number, written in ink. A cryptic text leads Emma to believe that Will is alive, and evidence from murder scenes seems to implicate him in the killings. It seems that all the victims have ties to Emma, so there’s a good chance she may become a suspect, as well—or the next victim. Little’s gleefully convoluted mystery has a first-rate protagonist for a prospective series. Over the course of the story, Emma valiantly deals with a lecherous mayor and uncooperative cops who resent her role as chief. Although many secondary characters show deviousness, Emma’s police dog, Pepper, is refreshingly loyal and reliable. The story features plenty of violence, including brutal homicides and meticulous examination of the corpses. Even the humor is dark, although it’s delivered well; in one scene, for instance, Emma gets rid of an annoying woman who’s fawning over the easygoing Pepper by saying, “I wouldn’t get near her if I were you. She’s vicious.” Intermittent scenes from the killer’s perspective will put readers ahead of the investigators, but that doesn’t make the tale any less nerve-wracking.

A high-quality murder mystery with a labyrinthine plot and a memorable heroine.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73397-380-9

Page Count: 379

Publisher: Honeysuckle Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2019

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A LITTLE LIFE

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

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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