A thriller with an endlessly twisty plot and plenty of lingering questions for a third book to answer.

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Crimson Park

From the The Park Trilogy series , Vol. 2

A California cold-case division finds that the disappearance of a B-movie director/producer isn’t nearly as straightforward as it initially seems in Booth’s (Olive Park, 2011) sequel.

Fresh off the closing of the infamous Olive Park murders, the three members of Sacramento’s On-Going Investigation Division are ready to move on. But their next case is a surprise, as it involves a recently missing person: James Marston Jr., who runs Molten Pitchers, a production company that specializes in low-budget horror films. IT expert Mallory Dimante, a fan of Marston’s schlock, hopes to be more than just an assistant to detectives Stan Wyld and Jake Steiner on this assignment. She and Jake head to Marston’s house and soon learn that the filmmaker was a bit of a recluse and may have been missing a week or more before anyone noticed. OID eventually finds Marston—or some of him, at least—but some body parts left in a BMW complicate matters, as they belong to someone else. Soon, a recently released ex-con seems a likely suspect. Meanwhile, private investigator Peter Berlin may have found a link between the producer and the previous Olive Park case. At the same time, siblings Michael and Jessie Cooper, two Olive Park survivors, are dodging Child Protective Services as their aunt recovers in the hospital. They’re unaware that a dangerous person is after them for a seemingly innocent item they’re carrying. The novel’s ties to the series’ first book are gleefully intricate, but they also mean that reading the prior installment is a requirement. There’s an abundance of shocking moments, including details surrounding Marston’s will, cryptic notes from PI Berlin, and a witness who saw someone near the producer’s car. The pieces of the puzzle don’t all come together by the end, leaving much of the story unexplained—hopefully to be resolved in the planned trilogy’s conclusion. But this one does reveal a villain or two and puts an OID member’s life on the line. It’s also fun to watch the imperiled Michael try to squeeze money from a production company that’s working on an Olive Park–related project.

A thriller with an endlessly twisty plot and plenty of lingering questions for a third book to answer.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9838329-2-8

Page Count: 386

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2016

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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