Routine monsters, but the story’s no less invigorating and the hero’s always entertaining.

The Agreement

From the Shadow Tales series , Vol. 3

Drummond’s (Something Wiccan, 2015, etc.) latest supernatural thriller finds its recurring teen hunter and his pals confronting vampires who’ve taken control of a Scottish town and its residents.

Now that his son Toby’s back in Silver Falls, Oregon, Sheriff Walter Hoffman’s reluctant to let the teenager return to Germany to train with the European Huntsman’s Network. But when baddies show up to retrieve powers Toby’s “inherited” from a dead warlock, Walter agrees that his son may be safer overseas. Toby’s girlfriend, Rachel, tags along, wanting to know how his decision on whether or not to be a hunter will affect their future together. Already in Germany is friend Natalie, a witch with newfound and inexplicably potent abilities who’s spent the last couple of months training. Hunter Jack Steele, meanwhile, has lost contact with colleague Angelina, in an area where other hunters have disappeared. She’d been tracking Gavin, a bloodsucking crony to vampire Alister McKean, who killed Jack’s parents years ago. Jack and Toby follow Angelina’s trail to Loubcroy, where vampires have made an agreement with humans: if vampires can be fellow citizens, they won’t harm humans. Rachel and Natalie join the two hunters later, and soon they’re facing off against a batch of sinister fanged foes. The hunters can only hope the frightened townsfolk will stand their ground to take back Loubcroy. Despite head trainer Henry Graves recommending that the girls “forget everything” they’ve read or seen about vampires, the author’s third series entry relies primarily on genre conventions. Readers know that sunlight hurts, wooden stakes kill, and vampirism equals virus. Drummond, however, fills his narrative with scorching, relentless action, the bulk of it set in vampire-infested Loubcroy. There’s a plethora of undead villains, and Toby’s increasingly chic capabilities allow him, among other things, to stake vampires telekinetically. The girls unfortunately stand on the sidelines for most of the story: Rachel does little as a mystic, while Natalie can barely control her powers. But everyone’s engaged in battle by the final act, with a gripping dilemma to close the book: Toby does something drastic that makes him not much better than the fiends he’s been staking.

Routine monsters, but the story’s no less invigorating and the hero’s always entertaining.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5176-2992-2

Page Count: 422

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2016

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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