Dramatic and twisty but full of plot holes; plus, the writer heroine isn’t very writerly.


Wishing on the Water

From the Water Series series

After her fiance dies, a woman tries to start over elsewhere, but a visit home stirs up both unresolved passion and new danger in this romance/thriller novel.

At almost 25, Candice-Leigh Carson is already an award-winning, bestselling novelist. But it’s not all good times: her fiance, Chase Matson, a detective with the NYPD, was shot dead on an undercover assignment. Also mourning Chase is Jaxson Monroe, his partner on the force and (with Candice) best friend since childhood; he comforts Candice, holding her in bed at night. When Candice learns that her other best friend, Christina, is pregnant with Chase’s baby, she again turns to Jax for comfort. After things become intimate, Candice flees in the middle of the night, changes her phone number, and moves to California, where she works in a cubicle at a computer company. On a business trip to New York City with her friendly new boss, Candice is contacted by detectives working Chase’s case—and by Jax. Strong feelings re-emerge and soon find lusty expression. But people in Candice’s life are hiding deadly secrets, and a violent confrontation brews. York (Surviving Brooklyn, 2015) keeps this novel at soap-opera pitch through dramatic events, stormy emotions, passionate sex scenes, and danger, spiced with some plot twists. But these twists would be more satisfying if they made more sense. Why, for example, would a crime boss need to elaborately gain Candice’s trust just to kill her, or Jax? Obstacles are contrived or clichéd, such as Candice’s reasons for avoiding romance with Jax: “I had erected a wall around myself… I didn’t want to be hurt again.” The plot doesn’t make much sense, and Candice similarly has some odd moments: she sees nothing overly sexual or romantic about sleeping all night entangled with Jax or about her boss wrapping his arms around her from behind. And, though she’s a novelist, Candice seems more interested in footwear, bubble baths, and closet organization than in books.

Dramatic and twisty but full of plot holes; plus, the writer heroine isn’t very writerly.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-42043-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2015

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.


A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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