This novel, like its brutal characters, remains rough around the edges.




An average Joe who thinks he deserves much more turns to crime to get it.

In Moore’s debut novel, quick-tempered Ike Caudine smokes too much, swears too much, and thinks far too highly of himself to be the lowly billboard salesman that he is. Two years later, in 1997, he and longtime friend Fitzgerald “Fritz” Moeller start a real estate magazine in moneyed Connecticut. The magazine quickly and wildly succeeds, allowing Ike to wear Gucci, drive a Mercedes, and flaunt a Rolex. But the publication and the big paycheck it provides are short-lived, killed by the internet and Ike and Fritz’s lack of business acumen. Eight years later, Ike’s toiling as a receptionist at a management firm and living with Mary. Raised poor, she now regularly wears pearls and wants a home in which “to entertain.” Realizing being with Ike isn’t going to get her a house with a porte-cochere, she packs up and leaves. Ike reunites with Fritz, who has turned to drugs and crime. Fritz baits Ike, whom he calls “monkey man,” into joining him in a money-laundering scheme. Fritz suggests the plan will bring Ike enough cash to lure back Mary. In the meantime, Ike encounters other willing women. Some unsavory male cohorts, one of whom is known as Fishguts, populate what the one-time publisher euphemistically refers to as the “finance” business, a line of work that transforms Ike into a killer. The novel’s arc takes Ike from being a rookie salesman who only imagines maiming a disagreeable prospective client to being a thug who feels “alive” after killing. Ike is nasty, surrounded by characters of a similar nature and in whom readers may well not have a rooting interest. There’s also the gratuitous use of “fuck,” with the word appearing on 79 of the book’s 259 pages, often more than once on a page. There’s also a palpable, un-PC attitude revealed by the overuse of another F word—“fat”—to describe people; there’s the “fat man whose suit pants bulged,” the “fat woman with a gold tooth,” etc. A banker and Connecticut native, the author writes authoritatively about money laundering and the Greenwich locale. In addition, dialogue, though often disturbing and repetitive, can be strong.

This novel, like its brutal characters, remains rough around the edges.

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5197-8474-2

Page Count: 236

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2018

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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