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THE CURSE OF MOONSEED MANOR

An unexpectedly cozy tale of mystery and romance among a dynamic cast.

A woman’s new position at a Gothic-style hotel comes with romantic prospects—and possibly a curse—in Lieber’s suspense novel.

Katherine “Wren” Mabry barely makes ends meet while working two full-time jobs in Philadelphia and helping to support her 16-year-old sister, Izzy. Since their dad’s death several years prior, their mother has practically dismissed the sisters in favor of a new family with her latest husband. Wren jumps at the chance for something better: a photography job at an old mansion being converted into a hotel. There are definitely some drawbacks; the internet says that the place is haunted, and it’s located on an island that will take her farther away from Izzy. Still, Wren can finally use her skillset and work fewer hours. On the island, she mulls a potential romance as she’s drawn to the hotel caretaker, Watt Fitz, and the owner, William Courtland Bennings. Both men, mysterious in their own ways, harbor secrets. Wren unearths a book filled with affecting poetry from a writer who believes he’s cursed—revelations may lie within. The story doesn’t often play up the alleged haunting of the hotel, and the atmosphere isn’t particularly spooky; Wren seems comfortable on the island and mingles easily with her affable fellow staff. The narrative primarily centers on Wren’s romantic complications as she’s torn between the brazenly flirtatious Watt and the kindhearted but sometimes “cold and unapproachable” William. Vibrant prose makes the ride inviting, as blue waters that “sparkled in the sunshine” surround the island, and both Watt’s presence and the humid air warm Wren on a “chilly misty morning.” The mysteries involving the two men, (as well as a touch of the paranormal) lead to more than one startling revelation. Lieber develops the characters exceedingly well, including Wren’s bubbly, whip-smart coworker, Alia, and her best friend and college roommate, Cecily, [6] who (maybe) has precognitive dreams.

An unexpectedly cozy tale of mystery and romance among a dynamic cast.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2023

ISBN: 9781951239299

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2023

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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