An epic, rewarding tale sure to garner fans ready for sequels.

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A SMUGGLER'S PATH

AN ENCHANTED ISLES NOVEL

In the first of Cruz’s fantasy series, a woman, living in a world where magic is illegal, learns she may be part of a powerful prophecy.

Following a war in The Enchanted Isles centuries ago, natives of Canto and Faery lost their innate magic. Only in Mythos did mages retain their Power, while magic anywhere else is unlawful. In present day, Inez Garza, a Canti, is a smuggler of magical relics. Though Inez is the disinherited heir to Árbol Real, she still has access to family wealth, and she donates her smuggling profits to a resistance movement against Mythos. The resistance leader, Rowley, a magical (talking) dog, gives Inez a cowry shell and tasks her with locating three more, believing the shells are the key to restoring everyone’s intrinsic abilities. Unexpectedly, the shell seems to unlock a dormant Power in Inez. She, for one, envisions the recent, unsolved murder of Delaware Humphrey. Fearing Mythos’ response to discovering magic in Canto, Inez searches for Delaware’s killer. This ultimately leads her to family secrets and her possible tie to the Ternion, an individual destined to bring mystical forces back to The Enchanted Isles. Cruz packs a lot of plot into her novel. For example, along with Inez’s noble lineage, she has a history with and lingering romantic interest in Zavier Cole, Canto’s prince whose brother and sister-in-law became king and queen. Multiple backstories, including Inez’s late duchess grandmother and The Enchanted Isles’ origin, provide a rich foundation for the present-day narrative. The author likewise employs myriad characters to further complicate the plot and give Inez reason to distrust nearly everyone. Cruz’s no-frills prose doesn’t stint on wit: Inez’s haunt is Froth, a tavernlike establishment that serves milk and optional syrups.

An epic, rewarding tale sure to garner fans ready for sequels.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Bosky Flame Press

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2018

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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