A gratifying page-turner that’s perfect for a summer read.


A friendship is tested when a chance encounter results in death and an unexpected conspiracy in Shae’s (Restless Secrets, 2017) thriller.

Regan Quinn and Nikolas “Niko” Mararious have been close ever since they were kids. They grew up together in a Greek orphanage, so they have a unique bond that’s helped them through the worst of times. Both are accomplished sailors, but after years of grueling work, they’re ready for a change. When Regan comes to Niko with some exciting news, it seems like things are looking up: A lucky bargain allowed Regan to buy an old marina and restaurant in Ireland, and he asks Niko to be his business partner. Niko’s initial elation is quickly overshadowed by a dark secret that he’s reluctant to share, even with his close friend, involving a criminal past. To make matters worse, the pair find themselves involved in a murder after a confrontation turns deadly. Knowing their lives are at risk, they make plans to leave for Ireland, confident they’ll be safe at last. But little do they know that Liam O’Hare, the sinister captain of the infamous ship the Autumn Wind and Niko’s former boss, will stop at nothing to derail their plans. Shae describes the ruggedness of sea life in startling detail, and the sense of dread surrounding the activities aboard the titular boat heightens the sense of anxiety: “He did not speak of what went on aboard the ship; no one did, because the crew was made up of desperate men who were safer on the Autumn Wind than anywhere else.” There are a few side plots that add other intriguing elements, such as a budding romance between Regan and Loren Lombardi, an Italian crime reporter. Mistaken identities, revenge, and betrayal all have a part to play, and the exotic locales only add to the intoxicating atmosphere of intrigue. The contrast in characterization between Niko and Regan is strikingly complex, and their opposite personalities generate tension and exhilaration. Several other side characters keep things lively and amusing, and the addition of an organized crime element gives the story a satisfying edge.

A gratifying page-turner that’s perfect for a summer read.

Pub Date: May 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5255-3314-3

Page Count: 390

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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