An easy-listening whodunit that brings its likable hero one step closer to the success he dreams of.

THE MAN WHO WASN'T ALL THERE

Novelist/ghostwriter Stewart Hoag’s latest attempt to get away from it all lands him in the middle of it all for the 12th time.

As 1993 draws to a close, Hoagy feels that he’s back. Not entirely back, since he’s still divorced from movie star Merilee Nash and still a one-trick novelist after 10 years. But, warmed by the hospitality of his ex, who’s loaned him her Central Park West apartment while she’s in Hungary shooting The Sun Also Rises, he’s finished 100 pages of that elusive second novel. Craving a break, he borrows Merilee’s car and drives out to her place in Connecticut, fully aware that his last stay in Lyme was marred by murder most foul. Shortly after his arrival, he’s accosted by auxiliary state trooper Austin Talmadge, who demands to see Merilee and vows reprisals if he doesn’t. Austin, as Hoagy soon learns, is "a highly unstable, anti-social delusional psychotic who has the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old boy" and a billionaire whose wealth is eclipsed only by that of attorney Michael Talmadge, his brother and trustee. For years, Michael has paid child psychologist Dr. Annabeth McKenna, of the Yale School of Medicine, $1 million a year to keep his brother in line. This year it’s not enough. Detained, sedated, and locked away, Austin easily escapes, kidnaps Hoagy and his beloved basset hound, Lulu, and imprisons them in a root cellar on Mount Creepy. His long-range plans, whatever they are, are scuttled when his throat is cut. Since Austin’s lifelong campaign of nasty tricks on virtually everyone in New London County gave them all a grudge against him, which of his many victims has finally turned on him?

An easy-listening whodunit that brings its likable hero one step closer to the success he dreams of.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7278-9248-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

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THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Combines disarming sensitivity to the nuances of the tangled relations among the characters with sledgehammer plotting.

FALSE WITNESS

A master of the no-holds-barred law enforcement thriller turns to legal intrigue, with shattering results.

A week before he’s to stand trial for the aggravated assault and rape of DataTel district manager Tammy Karlsen, car-dealership scion Andrew Tenant fires his lawyer and asks for a new one: Leigh Collier, a rising star at an Atlanta white-shoe firm. Originally baffled by the request, Leigh quickly realizes that her new client has a special reason to have asked for her: He’s recognized her from a magazine photo as the older sister of Callie, the babysitter who killed his father, Buddy Waleski, when his latest pedophile assault on her turned violent 23 years ago. In fact, the truth is even darker than that. Leigh was an active participant in the killing. Now she's determined to do everything she can to torpedo the defense she's preparing for Andrew, who’s accused of stabbing Tammy Karlsen in exactly the way Callie stabbed his father, while persuading both her client and her watchful senior partner that she’s doing her utmost to represent him. As she learns more and more particulars about the case and her client, Leigh realizes that her plan doesn’t go nearly far enough. Andrew is guilty of this assault and others, but he doesn’t just want her to get him off: He plans to blackmail her into complying with a potentially endless series of demands. How can she strike back at a monster who holds all the cards? Only by tapping into the depthless power of sisterhood with Callie, who’s descended into addiction but still loves Leigh with a ferocity that makes the pair of them as dangerous as the man who’s targeted them.

Combines disarming sensitivity to the nuances of the tangled relations among the characters with sledgehammer plotting.

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-285809-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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