This sequel is just what the doctor ordered and gives the budding franchise a shot of adrenaline.



From the Jack Forester series , Vol. 2

A hospital’s controversial program puts a physician and his family in harm’s way.

It is a groan-worthy pun to say that Edwards’ (Final Mercy, 2013) Dr. Jack Forester sequel starts off with a bang. But the blast that rocks the New Canterbury Medical Center wounds 31, takes the life of Forester’s “teacher, mentor, friend, advisor, ally,” and sets in motion this thriller. At issue is something called the Gilchrist Tube Project. It is the hospital’s top priority, but the dead Dr. James Gavin had reservations about it. So does a biochemist, who shares these opinions with Forester at Gavin’s memorial service. “If something were to happen to me,” he confides, “I would want someone like you to know.” Not long after, the man is reported missing. It just so happens that he was the lover of the wife of the hospital’s new dean. She asks her friend Zellie, the former investigative reporter now married to Forester, to look into the matter (“You know how to dig into things”). Zellie finds that bad things happen to those who oppose the program and want to reveal its secrets. What is the Gilchrist Tube Project? Originally, it was “designed to return a woman’s fertility when her fallopian tubes are damaged.” To reveal how it will truly be used would be a spoiler, but what is a thriller without a “hidden agenda”? Meanwhile, the bomber, a drug-addicted war veteran, is in thrall to a shadowy organization that is determined to stop the implementation of the project at all costs. When, following the initial bombing, the hospital decides to proceed with the program, the group dispatches its soldier to help “give Satan and his servants a message they will never forget.” Within the framework of this well-sustained, suspenseful thriller, Edwards effectively examines issues of medical morality and ethics, corporate greed, and office politics. At one point, Forester tells Zellie why Gavin, “an old-fashioned idealist,” never liked the Gilchrist Tube Project: “Because it was being pushed so hard. And the funding sources weren’t transparent. That wasn’t how things should be.” While the appearance of sinister villains pulling the strings behind the scenes borders on cliché, other key players are empathetically fleshed out with motives that, while reprehensible, are true to their characters.

This sequel is just what the doctor ordered and gives the budding franchise a shot of adrenaline.

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9890855-2-6

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Pascal Editions

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2018

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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