An enjoyable romantic drama that keeps readers guessing.


This romantic-suspense novel brings together a man who’s a trouble magnet with a woman who’s determined to prove his innocence.

In his mid-20s, Nick Allen is bad news, or at least that’s what people have said since his girlfriend, Sienna Brown, blew up in a car explosion. She was driving Nick’s Mustang, but her family blames Nick for neglecting to maintain the car, which he bought from the Browns’ dealership. Al Thomas, owner of the San Antonio, Texas, coffee shop/bookstore where they all used to work, says “The best thing for Nick would be to leave town”—though self-interest plays a role; Nick is opening a rival place just as Al is retiring with plans to leave the enterprise to his son, Blaine, a cocky 24-year-old. Quinn Corbin and her BFF Tory Taylor, both 24, think Nick is innocent—and “delicious.” The summer before Quinn starts teaching second grade and Tory returns to law school in Austin, Quinn begins exploring a relationship with Nick while Tory does some legal work for Al, somewhat uncomfortably given his anger over Nick’s coffee shop. After a tragedy that Nick is again blamed for, Tory vows to clear Nick’s name. Through twists and turns full of danger, surprise, and drama, more than one truth emerges. Lum (The Doctor, the Chef or the Fireman, 2017, etc.) writes a fast-paced novel full of emotional highs and lows. At times, the melodrama is overstated; for example, simply catching sight of her reflection in Nick’s sunglasses is “crazy strange” to Quinn. In general, though, Lum nicely captures the big feelings of young people getting started in life, like when Quinn’s excited about buying school supplies for her first time teaching solo. Some elements are too familiar, like the sassy gay best friend (“Honey, you know I moved to San Antonio for the street tacos and brown men”) or a contrived reason for jealousy (it’s just a big misunderstanding, naturally), but Lum keeps the plot suspenseful with alternating present-tense narrators, effective red herrings, and unexpected revelations.

An enjoyable romantic drama that keeps readers guessing.

Pub Date: April 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944463-12-0

Page Count: 362

Publisher: DKLit LLC

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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