With lust, passion and ire to spare, Alden’s freshman offering doesn’t disappoint.



A debut novel that illustrates the fine line between love and hate.

Paisley is an 18-year-old recovering addict whose parents, along with sister Caroline, treat her with nothing but disdain and disrespect. Always acting out, and known for her rather loose reputation—despite being a virgin—Paisley may be a bit immature and irresponsible, but she has her reasons. Usually, her antics result in a bit of familial humiliation; however, when Caroline brings her snobby yet dashing fiance, James, home to meet the family, things go from simple humiliation to giant disaster. Unable to deny their attraction, James and Paisley get off to an inappropriate start; things only get worse after Paisley, posing as her sister, tricks an inebriated James into a night of unbridled passion. Fed up with Caroline’s superior attitude and cruel treatment, Paisley delivers a shocking wedding speech that changes the course of their lives. Now, seven years later, Paisley is determined to right all her wrongs in an effort to earn back the love of a man who may never forgive her and that of another whom she has never met—her son. Touching on the intriguing idea of virginal pregnancy, Alden creates an interesting character in Paisley, who seems to want to do the right thing, though she might lack the tools. Despite an ability to “see peoples’ truths,” Paisley hasn’t been very lucky in love; however, it’s directly due to this ability that Paisley is able to see through James and read his longing and desire to possess her in all ways. By the same token, James seems to possess a similar power enabling him to see through Paisley—and it’s this connection that solidifies their fates. While Paisley could be seen as incorrigible, Alden shades her with enough vulnerability that she garners more sympathy than rancor; what Paisley seems to lack in morals, she more than makes up for in determination. It also helps that, through their appalling behavior, Paisley’s family members add a bit of validation to Paisley’s antics. Alden’s narrative voice is captivating and her writing quite good, and though the story isn’t terribly complex, it’s definitely a page-turner.

With lust, passion and ire to spare, Alden’s freshman offering doesn’t disappoint.

Pub Date: June 2, 2014


Page Count: 250

Publisher: Carina Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2014

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Archer will be a great series character for fans of crime fiction. Let’s hope the cigarettes don’t kill him.


Thriller writer Baldacci (A Minute to Midnight, 2019, etc.) launches a new detective series starring World War II combat vet Aloysius Archer.

In 1949, Archer is paroled from Carderock Prison (he was innocent) and must report regularly to his parole officer, Ernestine Crabtree (she’s “damn fine-looking”). Parole terms forbid his visiting bars or loose women, which could become a problem. Trouble starts when businessman Hank Pittleman offers Archer $100 to recover a ’47 Cadillac that’s collateral for a debt owed by Lucas Tuttle, who readily agrees he owes the money. But Tuttle wants his daughter Jackie back—she’s Pittleman’s girlfriend, and she won’t return to Daddy. Archer finds the car, but it’s been torched. With no collateral to collect, he may have to return his hundred bucks. Meanwhile, Crabtree gets Archer the only job available, butchering hogs at the slaughterhouse. He’d killed plenty of men in combat, and now he needs peace. The Pittleman job doesn’t provide that peace, but at least it doesn’t involve bashing hogs’ brains in. People wind up dead and Archer becomes a suspect. So he noses around and shows that he might have the chops to be a good private investigator, a shamus. This is an era when gals have gams, guys say dang and keep extra Lucky Strikes in their hatbands, and a Lady Liberty half-dollar buys a good meal. The dialogue has a '40s noir feel: “And don’t trust nobody.…I don’t care how damn pretty they are.” There’s adult entertainment at the Cat’s Meow, cheap grub at the Checkered Past, and just enough clichés to prove that no one’s highfalutin. Readers will like Archer. He’s a talented man who enjoys detective stories, won’t keep ill-gotten gains, and respects women. All signs suggest a sequel where he hangs out a shamus shingle.

Archer will be a great series character for fans of crime fiction. Let’s hope the cigarettes don’t kill him.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5387-5056-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2019

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Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.


FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).

Imagine Florida beachcombers’ shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot’s amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where “something terrible was happening” in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is “a most baffling case indeed” for the brilliant Pendergast, but it’s the type of problem he thrives on. He’s hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he’s part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his “extraordinarily beautiful,” smart, and sarcastic young “ward” who has “eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing.” Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and “every inch a Fed.” Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.

Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4725-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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