Holding himself responsible for his son’s death, Dr. Speak Singleton relocates to Park City, Utah, where his role as the doping control officer (DCO) in the cycling events of the 2012 Olympics presents him with an opportunity for atonement.

When Liam Singleton is caught using topical testosterone, a form of steroids, his father, Speak, an emergency room doctor, is quick to chastise him; only hours later, Speak stares at the lifeless body of his son, who crashed into a tree on the way to the emergency room. Liam’s death is the final blow to Speak and Fiona’s marriage; she walks out while Speak relocates to the solitary confines of Park City, where he’s determined to preserve the anti-doping system as the DCO in the cycling events of the 2012 Olympics. Immediately apparent are the sinister intentions of Team USA member and Tour de France winner Luke Garver and Coach Whitford, a medical genius who has devised a muscle-DNA altering substance that will not only pass through the anti-doping system but can also reduce the effects of aging. Seemingly past his prime, Garver, who has been shattering all of the cycling records set by Lance Armstrong, is a living example of Whitford’s prowess. Whitford and his right-hand man, Flint, know no bounds, as evidenced by the brutal slaying of Erik Hikem. Speak meets Troy Hale, another member of Team USA, through Hikem’s accident and immediately likens Troy to his son. Despite his insecurities and intimacy issues, Speak is a compassionate character who seeks the female touch and finds it in paramedic and fellow volunteer Julia Anderson. The dichotomy between the two medical practitioners, Speak and Whitford, is stunning—while one is ready to endure criticism and a tarnished reputation in his fight against steroids, the other is just as determined to plow through any obstacle that will prevent him from becoming rich through his creation, regardless of the cost in human lives and side effects of genetic doping. Speak and Whitford, two characters who have a scarred past and are searching for redemption—or revenge—are, on their own, enough to make this narrative a worthwhile read. The element of the 2012 Summer Olympics, educational information on steroids, fast-paced dialogue and the relationships between Troy and Speak and Speak and Julia are simply icing on the cake. A thrilling, nuanced drama that packs an informational and emotional punch.


Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2012


Page Count: 302

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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