An unconventional but consistently absorbing multigenre tale.


From the Fletcher Family Saga series , Vol. 1

In Bishop’s (Red-Line: Trust Destiny, 2015, etc.) mystery/thriller series starter with supernatural elements, a reporter helps a man who believes a curse has been killing his lovers.

Grayson Steele and his best friend, Cooper Stone, started a software company that made them millionaires. But Grayson, who rarely leaves his beachfront house on Sea Island, is miserable. Back in high school, one of his friends, Joanie, died from an apparent suicide. Her mother was so distraught that, at Joanie’s funeral, she wished the pain of losing a loved one on all her daughter’s friends. She pointed specifically at Grayson, who became certain that the woman had cursed him. Since then, every time he’s intimate with a woman whom he loves, she dies three days later. Gillian Fletcher is a reporter who hopes to write an article about the reclusive millionaire, and it soon becomes clear (to readers, at least) that she’s prodding Grayson for information on his deceased lovers. She has a theory that it’s not a curse that’s killing the women but a person, although she doesn’t know their motive. She makes an offer to Grayson to feign a sexual relationship with him in order to ensnare the killer. But Grayson soon learns that the reporter is harboring an incredible secret. Bishop’s novel is two books in one: a murder mystery, which reaches an early resolution, followed by a reveal about Gillian that results in a very different kind of story. Readers who’ve already read Bishop’s preceding trilogy will be in familiar terrain, but for others, it will be a somewhat jarring genre shift. Nevertheless, there’s romance and suspense throughout as Grayson and Gillian succumb to their mutual attraction and occasionally find themselves in mortal peril. Lengthy scenes play out with copious dialogue, but they entail engaging discussions about murder suspects or the particulars of Gillian’s family. During action scenes, however, the author truly delivers; in one tension-ridden sequence, Gillian hides from a threat, “her breathing coming in short shallow gasps. Her heart hammered and her side burned from exertion.”

An unconventional but consistently absorbing multigenre tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-77840-1

Page Count: 402

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2019

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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