Despite some wooden dialogue, Kazan opens a window into a time period and a culture largely ignored or forgotten in the 21st...

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THE DERVISH

Kazan explores the exciting and dangerous time in Turkey—or Anatolia—shortly after World War I, when Turkish nationalists under Mustafa Kemal are fighting to establish a post-Ottoman regime.

The narrator is Mary Di Benedetti, an American whose husband died at the Battle of the Somme—though Mary narrates these events from a perspective some 40 years after her husband’s death. After visiting his grave in France, she goes to Turkey to spend some time with her sister Connie and her brother-in-law John, a diplomat. Mary is an artist who likes to roam about unhampered to do her sketching, but one night, she witnesses an event that will change her life forever—a British soldier kills Halil, a Turk, in cold blood, though not before Halil gives some mysterious documents to Mary, who secretes them among her sketches. Halil also says something that sounds to Mary like “Holiday hanoom.” After this almost Hitchcock-ian scene, Mary finds out that a woman named Halide Hanim (the latter word an honorific, not a name) is working with the nationalists and is happy to receive the unexpected documents. Mary and Halide become good friends, as Mary starts to become more and more enamored with Turkish culture. She also meets Mustafa, Halil’s grieving father, and they begin a romantic relationship that must be carried on sub rosa. Although both the Allied (i.e., British) troops and the American consulate warn Mary of the dangers involved in her growing entanglement with Turkish politics and personalities, she increasingly devotes herself to the nationalist cause, even to the point of being threatened with arrest.

Despite some wooden dialogue, Kazan opens a window into a time period and a culture largely ignored or forgotten in the 21st century.

Pub Date: April 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-6231-6004-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: OPUS

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

WINDOW ON THE BAY

Macomber (Be a Blessing, 2019, etc.) threatens to set her latest beach read in Paris, but her characters have other plans.

Maureen Zelinski and Jenna Boltz have been friends since college. Years ago, their plans to go to Paris were thwarted when Maureen found out she was pregnant. Now that they’re both single mothers whose children have left the nest, the time is right to dust off their passports and try again. In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, Maureen and Jenna don’t make it to Paris just yet. Instead, they stay in Seattle and pursue new love interests. Jenna, a nurse, meets orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rowan Lancaster in the emergency room after her mother falls and hurts her hip. Maureen, against her better judgment, accepts a date with Logan, a union plumber who frequents the library where she works. Jenna is afraid to date a co-worker after her workplace romance with her ex failed, but when Rowan proves to be a good listener, she’s more willing to discuss her options. Maureen doesn’t think she’ll fit in with Logan and his beer-drinking buddies, but she’s surprised when she enjoys their date at a football game. Meanwhile, Jenna worries about her children, Allie and Paul, as they navigate college and life. Though the story is primarily told from the two mothers’ perspectives, Allie breaks into the narrative with a surprising connection to Rowan. Maureen’s daughter, Tori, also takes on the role of confidante. The happy endings (and potential travel plans) unfold with a touch of realism to contrast the idyllic backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.

Despite the false start, this heartwarming story sweetly balances friendship and mother-child bonding with romantic love.

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-18133-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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