A torrid, atmospheric fantasy that satisfies on all fronts.



A detective with strange powers takes on a client whose touch is deadly in this romantic fantasy.

The year is 1933, and Mark Van Ryn is Chicago’s only albino private eye. But his most unusual feature is his ability to melt into and travel within shadows. His reputation for solving supernatural crimes brings Elizaveta Karlova to his doorstep. She hires him to dig up dirt on five wealthy men, one of whom she plans to marry. Mark tries to decline the case, but Eliza insists. She doesn’t tell him that she’s a Lamia, possessing a scent that ensnares men and a touch, if she chooses, that can kill. No sooner does Eliza leave than one of Gabriel “Scarface” Camonte’s thugs arrives. The mobster hires Mark to find out what’s dissolving his men from the inside out. Later, Mark tries to inform Eliza that he’s quit her case, but she won’t accept his decision. She uses her cursed scent to tame the detective, ensuring that he becomes obsessed with her. Mark crashes a party at which Eliza hopes to woo her potential husbands, including Lionel Duke of Duke Chemical. Does the industrial waste created by his company have anything to do with mobsters dying near sinks and drainage systems? In Curry’s series opener, a Chicago between world wars provides a moody backdrop for superpowered individuals to fight crime and enjoy steamy sex. Mark is like a “Greek statue come to life,” and he isn’t above using his shadow powers to spy on Eliza. “Wouldn’t you like to touch me?” she asks, knowing he’s somehow watching her undress. Duke is thoroughly villainous in saying, “War will never be over.” A tentacled monstrosity grants the narrative horror bona fides, and a rooftop tryst fulfills the inevitable Batman homage. The author’s secondary characters shine, including Frasier Robinson, Mark’s Black best friend. In one scene, Eliza shakes his hand and causes an “audible gasp” from White partygoers. But stealing the show is the sustained, high-resolution carnality of the protagonists. Rabbits seem lazy compared to Mark and Eliza, giving this entertaining tale a striking erotic polish.

A torrid, atmospheric fantasy that satisfies on all fronts.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73279-002-5

Page Count: 470

Publisher: Arcanic Media LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...


Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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