A captivating murder tale that kick-starts the beach reading season.

TUNE UP

From the The Secrets of Mylin series , Vol. 1

A detective duo returns to the streets of San Francisco for a second case in this thriller, the first installment of a series.

Rural Alaskan investigator Qiqiq, on loan to the San Francisco Police Department, is still partnered with the sexy-but-tough Kandy Dreeson when the duo is called in for an unusual probe for homicide detectives. That morning, an elderly Chinese woman was struck by a motorcycle while crossing the road. Though the woman is alive, one witness reports this was no accident: the victim was being targeted. While in the early stages of that investigation, the two are also tasked with tracking a missing lawyer. Between the two cases, Dreeson can’t help but grumble that, as homicide detectives, “there should be a body.” Meanwhile, on the other side of California at Lake Tahoe, a fortuitous coincidence brings together a street photographer named Joe Roberts and a beautiful Asian woman whom he happened to shoot months before in Michigan. Trying to play the good guy and find out more about this mysterious and irresistible figure—her name is Mylin, and she plays the viola in an all-Asian, all-female touring orchestra—pulls Joe into a spider web of secrets, sex, blackmail, and murder. Joe may be in over his head, but he’s not the only one entangled; between a motorcycle club involved with more than just classic bikes and a body count that teaches Dreeson to be careful what she wishes for, the two detectives have their work cut out for them if they want to catch the people triggering these events without getting burned in the process. Even though Klingler (Missing Mona, 2015, etc.) injects a few more hard-to-believe coincidences and auspicious events into his narrative, which allow certain aspects to wrap up more neatly than they should, he definitely knows how to tell an entertaining tale. Action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable, the book delivers two distinctive protagonists (“The visiting gumshoe whose Alaskan name no one can pronounce” and his attractive partner with “nearly six feet of gazelle-muscle” who prefers to wear “athletic clothes that didn’t hinder movement in an altercation”). Once again the author succeeds in spinning his story so well that readers can’t help but keep turning the pages to see its spectacular climax. Let’s hope book two arrives soon.

A captivating murder tale that kick-starts the beach reading season.

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-941156-06-3

Page Count: 470

Publisher: Cartosi LLC

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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