An action-driven tale of heroes worth rooting for at the U.S.–Mexico border.

SHADOW WOLVES

A team of American Indian trackers faces off against a Mexican cartel that’s trafficking drugs and humans in Kaminski’s debut thriller.

Lakota Sioux Ethan Crowe has kept a low profile since the murders of his wife and son at the hands of a drug lord. But the former member of the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force agrees to head a special team of trackers—among them Will Price, a Navajo; Isaac Factor, a Seminole; and Nalin Chee, an Apache—to fight cartels at the Mexican border. His main incentive is seeking justice after cartel’s assassination of a tribal police officer, the younger brother of a friend and fellow soldier of Crowe’s. The team, dubbed the Shadow Wolves, ultimately focuses on the Zetas, a drug cartel led by enigmatic Yaotl and with notorious sniper Romero as his “personal trigger finger.” But team members Nalin Chee and Hannah Lone Hawk track the Zetas and verify what they already suspected: The cartel is kidnapping women and children to sell as sex slaves. In confrontations and pursuits unfolding on both sides of the border, the Shadow Wolves aim to save lives and take down the Zetas. But knowing that Romero is the assassin who killed his friend’s brother, Crowe must decide if he wants to seek retribution. Kaminski aptly details the cast, whose American Indian characters originate from different tribes, including Apache, Seminole, Navajo, and Lakota, and have worked in varying professions. Shadow Wolf Isaac Factor, for example, had tracked drug smugglers for the Miami-Dade County Police while Hannah had been an agent for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While racism is an unfortunate, perhaps expected burden Crowe and other American Indians endure, it’s often blatant in this book, which has numerous obviously prejudiced characters. Cartel villains, however, are violent and malicious, making it easy for readers to cheer the heroes during concisely drawn and tight action sequences. Despite implying that sequels will come, the ending is fulfilling even if more than one standout character sadly doesn’t make it.

An action-driven tale of heroes worth rooting for at the U.S.–Mexico border. (acknowledgements, author bio)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68456-623-5

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Page Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2020

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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A unique story of transcendent love.

LAYLA

An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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