An above-par thriller hitting the sweet spot between sympathy and repulsion for a probable killer.

UNDETECTED

On the back nine of her 60s, a beautiful, canny woman remains a pro at snagging rich old duffers, then leaving them in the rough, and possibly in the ground.

In Marshall’s (Little Miss Sure Shot, 2014, etc.) first thriller, septuagenarian Dean and sexagenarian Suzy Perry married recently, shortly after the death of the bride’s previous spouse. On the surface, Suzy seems the ideal country club wife for moneyed Dean, whose house overlooks a golf course. But the slim, bridge-playing, Mercedes-driving blonde may have skeletons as well as Prada in her Westchester County closet. She talks little about her previous life in Atlanta with her former husband, who died of a heart attack that surprised everyone, including a cardiologist. Some sleuthing on the part of Dean’s son, Alex, reveals that Suzy may have had yet another husband who unexpectedly died decades earlier from heart failure in suburban St. Louis. If true, Suzy had a different name back then—Bettina—and a child who seems to have vanished. Or was it Bettina who vanished, morphing into a psychopath with no past and multiple murders on her score card? Her disturbing backstory includes abuse, betrayal, and an injury that resulted in a permanent limp “that sullied an image of otherwise near-perfection, like a blotch on the front of a snow-white dress.” Lively conversation and playful descriptions such as a dog’s “wagging his curved tail like a metronome” fill the pages. Points awarded for a thriller with a median character age that appears to be bumping 60. The book starts strongly, with Suzy on the run and the past events revealed at a good pace. Midbook the introduction of a blackmailer works well, but a disturbing medical issue has no follow-up. Ultimately, like Suzy herself, the story ends up limping a bit, though the final few pages may tempt a reader to a smile and wonder if a sequel could be crafted.

An above-par thriller hitting the sweet spot between sympathy and repulsion for a probable killer.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4575-7045-2

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2020

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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