All those rapid-fire costume changes give a jumpy feel to Wright’s fast-paced, quirky debut.

THE RED CHAMELEON

Her cover blown, an undercover cop reinvents herself as a whole company of private investigators.

Kathleen Stone’s days on the NYPD left her with two things: an unscratchable itch for fellow cop Ellis Dekker and the skill to fade into the background in a way the 6-foot-2, ice-blond Dekker never could. Once the Costa gang makes her, though, Kathleen’s net worth as a cop plummets to near zero. So she swaps her badge for a dozen wigs. Now, in two seconds, she can become Katy, Kat, Kitty, Katya—whomever her client du jour needs to get the goods on a cheating spouse or light-fingered partner. In her favorite black dress and spiffy red bob, she becomes Kathy Seasons, charming hedge fund hawks at Hamilton’s while tailing Stephen Kramer, suspected of infidelity by his wife, Gloria. When Kramer gets popped in the men’s room, Kathy runs from the bar, ditches the wig and resourcefully turns into 15-year-old Keith to give the police the slip. As ash-blonde Kate, Kathleen stakes out the Kramers’ apartment in time to see young stud Leif Nichols pay the widow Kramer a two-hour condolence call. The next day, she’s back as flame-haired Kathy, alleged real estate broker drafted to find a condo for James Clifton, a Wall Street wolf who happened to be in Hamilton’s the day Kramer got offed. Between Clifton and Gloria Kramer, Kathleen has her hands full. But she still has time for a quick tryst with Marco, her alternative to the cagey Dekker; a trip out to Suffolk County with her doe-eyed secretary, Meeza; and a couple more corpses.

All those rapid-fire costume changes give a jumpy feel to Wright’s fast-paced, quirky debut.

Pub Date: June 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60598-568-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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