An absorbing, restorative tale of community and nature.

HOW TO BURY YOUR DOG

An introverted animal lover gets drawn into an anti-development fight in this literary novel.

Lizzy isn’t the biggest fan of people, but she loves animals. An inveterate adopter of strays, she’s amassed a small herd of cats and dogs at her farmhouse. She’s just had to put down her favorite companion, her beloved basset hound, Happy. The death has consumed a lot of her emotional energy, leaving little left over to dedicate to the impending development of nearby Bartons Mill Pond. Russ Henderson, a friend from her activism-centered past, calls her, asking for help blocking the new homes planned for the pond, which abuts Lizzy’s property. “Lizzy, I know you hate the idea of a major subdivision out there,” he says. “Yes,” she responds, “but you also know I’ve given up fighting the world. It doesn’t budge.” Even so, Lizzy finds herself pulled into the cause as well as into the lives of two area boys: Jonas Meyers, a 16-year-old loner who loves to walk through the countryside, and Timmy Donohue, a 10-year-old paperboy struggling with questions of morality. These humans are slightly more complex than the critters Lizzy is used to dealing with, but is there a chance that their presence in her life can draw her closer to the world she’s written off? Silverfine’s prose is earthy and elegant, adept at animating both her characters and the natural world that captivates them. Here, Timmy comes across Jonas on the roadside and asks him what he’s looking at: “Without breaking his skyward gaze, Jonas replied, ‘The moon. And Venus.’ ‘I like when the moon is just a sliver, when you can barely see it but you know the whole moon is there. You can sort of see the dark part of the moon tonight. Venus is really bright.’ ” The story is well paced and the characters are deftly rendered, but it’s the sense of space that the author manages to embody—indoors and outdoors, country and town, and all the areas in between—that imbues the book with its alluring readability. The plot unfolds slowly and without much fanfare, yet readers will immediately be along for the ride—well, less a ride than a solitary stroll down a quiet country lane.

An absorbing, restorative tale of community and nature.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68433-821-4

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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