The Secondary Target

Some tenacious police work, but the characterizations remain stale.

As a divorce attorney recovers from a brutal attack, an investigation reveals further complications in this romantic mystery/thriller.

Beth Scott, 31, is an up-and-coming divorce attorney in a prestigious New York City law firm. A Yale graduate who loves shopping and fashion, she works long hours to afford her brand-name lifestyle. Although she hasn’t got much time for relationships (she’s on a break with Michael Hudson, a fellow attorney who adores her), everything is going right—until she is stabbed and beaten in her own apartment. She wakes with no memory of the incident at first, but gains a new friend in her handsome doctor, Brandon Burton; after her release from the hospital, he drops by to give her personal checkups. The detectives investigating her attack follow several avenues, such as angry husbands of Beth’s divorce clients, or perhaps Victoria David, Beth’s friend who arrived awfully soon after the attack. Michael takes such loving care of Beth as she recovers that she reconsiders their break, and the romance rekindles: “There was no way she could let this amazing, empathetic man slip through her fingers.” Meanwhile, detectives uncover clues suggesting that Beth’s attack was a warning—a suspicion that’s confirmed by a mob hit on someone close to her that upends her newly won equilibrium. As the probe continues, Beth’s romantic life takes another turn, but there is still a shocking revelation to come. In her debut novel, Lynn draws on her experience as an emergency room and surgical nurse for descriptions of Beth’s treatment and recovery, which ring true. She also handles the mystery itself fairly well, with realistically dogged police work and mostly plausible red herrings. But Lynn’s characterizations make a simple-minded equivalence between appearance and worth: for example, Burton’s “compassion and concern” seem directly related to his being “strikingly handsome.” Victoria is suspected of romantic, possibly lesbian desperation because she’s “overweight, her hair unstyled,” and her features plain. Lynn also bogs down the book’s pace with much unnecessary detail, such as every word of minor phone conversations.

Some tenacious police work, but the characterizations remain stale.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9970595-0-2

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Canta Bello Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2016

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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