A first-rate and undaunted protagonist easily carries this brisk crime tale—and ongoing series.


Perfectly Good Crime


A TV news reporter finds a great story—and a mystery—when someone starts stealing from Los Angeles’ wealthiest homeowners.

Kate Bradley’s not happy that Channel 11 bumps her story of a devastating train wreck for a burglary, especially when it’s not even a celebrity’s house. But she changes her mind when cop friend and secret inside source Detective Jake Newton can get her exclusive access to another robbery with the same M.O. Someone’s bypassing high-tech security systems and making off with millions in cash and goods in record time. Homes of L.A.’s richest are the discernible targets, and it’s hardly surprising that the public’s not very sympathetic. Things take a startling turn when a fire breaks out during a burglary in progress, culminating in one thief injured and another caught on camera. The latter contacts Kate, wanting viewers to know that the culprits aren’t bad people, championed by an unknown leader, directing the crimes via earpiece and talking of changing the world. Kate’s already got a lot going on, with Jake’s inexplicable disappearance and a dream job offer that would take her to New York and away from fire captain boyfriend Eric Hayes. But if she can find the motive for the robberies, she can at least expose the person behind it all. Complications abound in this tale in exhilarating fashion: a possible clue vanishing from a crime scene and the news story leading into the world of online gaming. But nothing’s as gleefully complex as the protagonist herself. Kate, for one, is a senator’s daughter, which may get her connections to the affluent victims but likewise burdens her with expectations of spinning reports to favor Dad’s rich pals. Meserve (Good Sam, 2014) delivers a mystery that’s generally sound, although most readers will figure it out well before Kate. What holds the most weight is Kate’s perpetual conflict as a reporter; she’s made a successful career from covering stories of tragedy but she’s later horrified when witnessing a murdered high schooler’s grieving mother. Kate’s intuitive and professional, but it’s her steadfast compassion that makes her truly remarkable.

A first-rate and undaunted protagonist easily carries this brisk crime tale—and ongoing series.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9914499-3-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Melrose Hill Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2016

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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