Displays a knack for shaping round characters with rich and troubled pasts–sure to be a treat for armchair psychoanalysts...

MURDER AND THE MASQUERADE

: BOOK 1 OF THE DOROTHY PHAIRE ROMANTIC MYSTERY SERIES

Two African-American women in the Washington, D.C., metro area face their middle-age struggles with love, family and murder charges in this empowering romantic thriller.

Dr. Renee Hayes seems to have everything–a lavishly decorated French Colonial house, a successful psychology practice and a popular series of self-help books. On the inside, however, she is just as troubled as any of her patients. One of these is Veda Simms, a suicidal paralegal who has estranged herself from her ex-husband and daughter as a result of her dangerous obsession with LaMarr Coleman, a crooked attorney at her law firm. At first, the patient and doctor seem to be the antithesis of each other (with the exception of a shared hairdresser). Veda is petty and self-absorbed, concerned only with what LaMarr thinks of her, while selfless Renee tends to an infant with AIDS in her off-hours. A series of seemingly unrelated crimes befall the two women, and Renee finds herself in the throes of a torrid affair with Deek, a young detective investigating the crimes, as a relief from her tepid marriage. At the end of her patience with LaMarr’s shady activities, Veda goes from a weepy mess of nerves to a wrathful ex. When both women are wrongfully charged with LaMarr’s gruesome murder, they begin to question their chosen paths. In this rewrite of her 2001 book Almost Out of Love, Phaire devotes a sizable chunk of the story solely to her characters’ biographies, giving the reader a detailed psychological portrait of the two women but occasionally hindering plot progression. Mystery and suspense take a back seat as chapter-long childhood flashbacks play out, drawing the reader deeper into the psyches of Veda and Renee.

Displays a knack for shaping round characters with rich and troubled pasts–sure to be a treat for armchair psychoanalysts and book clubs alike.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-595-44787-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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