A passionate and timely political tale that will appeal to the anti-Trump choir but likely won’t create many converts.

RULES OF RESISTANCE

A POLITICAL MYSTERY

From the Imogen & Isaiah series , Vol. 1

The murder of a “third-rate hack of a political consultant” triggers the plot of this debut novel.

Isaiah Whitman, a political activist, recalls the events that led him to a holding room at the Modesto, California, police department. He’s awaiting questioning regarding the death of Corey Strutsky, who was found shot in Whitman’s office. Whitman, who was once known as one of Silicon Valley’s “Rising Stars,” sold his business a while ago. Donald Trump’s election deeply concerned him and his twin sister, causing them to seek out “volunteer opportunities, and a path back to the nation we thought we knew.” They focused their attention on a California congressional race between Republican, white evangelical Mike Reed, and Latina community activist Sylvia Delgado, a Democrat. But they weren’t satisfied with simply making phone calls for Delgado. Whitman, a biracial man who’s long been “passing” for white, hatched an elaborate plot to pose as a supporter of Reed. He formed a political-action committee and targeted white, working-class voters who once voted for Barack Obama but swung to Trump. However, he didn’t want to win them over to Reed’s side; instead, he used deliberately racist rhetoric in order to horrify them into abandoning their Republican-voting ways. He hired Strutsky as a consultant who would “take messaging where others fear to tread.” But was Whitman using Strutsky, or was Strutsky using him? Although Hunt-Logan’s novel is billed as a “political mystery,” it reads more like an anti-Trump polemic—complete with citations to support arguments and data points. It may effectively serve as a call-to-action to non-voters who sat out the 2016 election; one character, for example, “excoriated friends who had told her they weren’t volunteering, as they ‘just weren’t that excited about Hillary.’ She said, ‘I hope they’re excited now.’ ” Still, many readers may find that the book displays more passion than it does nuance. Still, Hunt-Logan’s message is keenly felt, clearly urging readers to get politically engaged in the upcoming midterms—and beyond.

A passionate and timely political tale that will appeal to the anti-Trump choir but likely won’t create many converts.

Pub Date: July 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73247-680-6

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Skyline Ridge Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2018

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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