A swift pace will keep readers hooked as the timely, intriguing plot unravels.

THE DELHI DECEPTION

In Sabharwal’s debut romantic thriller, a 30-something South African journalist travels to Delhi, falls for a mysterious charmer and inadvertently becomes a pawn in a secret mission to uncover a sinister underworld of human trafficking and international crime.

Seeking to surprise her estranged, war-reporter husband, Carla arrives at Andrew’s hotel room in Peshawar only to find him in a compromised position with a female co-worker. Reeling, she takes refuge in the Delhi home of her best friend, Elouise, an expatriate who’s settled in India with her wealthy husband, Harry, and their two children. As a distraction from her heartache, Carla, known for her exotic beauty, easily immerses herself in Elouise’s daily life of leisure, elite parties and full-time servants. While out on a tourist jaunt, Carla’s fate, as well as the novel, takes a dark turn when she’s kidnapped, drugged and nearly sold into sexual slavery. Just in time, George, an acquaintance with a shadowy reputation and no shortage of sex appeal, comes to the rescue. He reveals his true mission to her as part of an operation to catch those at the helm of this seedy venture. For her part, Carla agrees to spy on Harry, whom George believes to be involved somehow. Soon after Carla gives in to her desire for George, her husband appears and begs for forgiveness. She’s left in utter confusion, which is only magnified when Andrew and his aforementioned co-worker put George’s motives and true identity into question. The narrator’s breezy tone and the characters’ indulgence in frivolity contrast appealingly, if oddly, with the novel’s darker depictions, as of the place where young women are subdued with forced drug use and then preened like living dolls and sold to the highest bidder. The detailed accounts of criminal activity, apparently researched by the author, seem to belong to a story not wholly unearthed here, though admittedly, it would be difficult to fully serve these nonfictional elements without overpowering the interpersonal dynamics, which ultimately drive the narrative.

A swift pace will keep readers hooked as the timely, intriguing plot unravels.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479105595

Page Count: 370

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2013

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Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

LABYRINTH

Coulter’s treasured FBI agents take on two cases marked by danger and personal involvement.

Dillon Savitch and his wife, Lacey Sherlock, have special abilities that have served them well in law enforcement (Paradox, 2018, etc.). But that doesn't prevent Sherlock’s car from hitting a running man after having been struck by a speeding SUV that runs a red light. The runner, though clearly injured, continues on his way and disappears. Not so the SUV driver, a security engineer for the Bexholt Group, which has ties to government agencies. Sherlock’s own concussion causes memory loss so severe that she doesn’t recognize Savitch or remember their son, Sean. The whole incident seems more suspicious when a blood test from the splatter of the man Sherlock hit reveals that he’s Justice Cummings, an analyst for the CIA. The agency’s refusal to cooperate makes Savitch certain that Bexholt is involved in a deep-laid plot. Meanwhile, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith is visiting friends who run a cafe in the touristy Virginia town of Gaffers Ridge. Hammersmith, who has psychic abilities, is taken aback when he hears in his mind a woman’s cry for help. Reporter Carson DeSilva, who came to the area to interview a Nobel Prize winner, also has psychic abilities, and she overhears the thoughts of Rafer Bodine, a young man who has apparently kidnapped and possibly murdered three teenage girls. Unluckily, she blurts out her thoughts, and she’s snatched and tied up in a cellar by Bodine. Bodine may be a killer, but he’s also the nephew of the sheriff and the son of the local bigwig. So the sheriff arrests Hammersmith and refuses to accept his FBI credentials. Bodine's mother has psychic powers strong enough to kill, but she meets her match in Hammersmith, DeSilva, Savitch, and Sherlock.

Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9365-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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