A colorful and captivating time-travel adventure with fearsome creatures.



A punk rocker wakes up in a Victorian world where unusual beasts plague Boston—still under British rule—in this debut steampunk thriller.

The novel begins with Sarah, in Victorian garb, witnessing a strange creature attack and whisk away a beggar near Boston Common. The action then shifts to Kevin Barnes, a “throwback punk band” musician sporting a purple mohawk, waiting for his “contemporary world” commuter train to Boston. A businessman who identifies himself as Roland asks Kevin to watch a briefcase and promptly disappears. Kevin boards the train and Sarah, in modern dress, becomes his seatmate. Kevin dozes off, then awakens to a transformed train—it runs on steam; British soldiers are aboard; and Sarah wears a Victorian outfit. The duo meets up with British game hunter Silas Cunningham and architectural genius Niles Barton, who have come to Boston to kill two Rhino-pards—a rhino and leopard combination created by a “most brilliant and disturbing” French scientist—which are wreaking havoc on the city. Kevin becomes gun bearer to these hunters as they explore the steam tunnels beneath Boston searching for their prey. Soon realizing their weapons are ineffective, the allies decide to try to kill the beasts by steam explosion, using Sarah as bait. By the thriller’s end, a British ironclad and a mysterious airship also join the conflict, with the strangely glowing scientist managing to escape with a surviving Rhino-pard. Kevin, too, considers exiting, but then makes a fateful exchange on his return train. Dennehy sets into motion an engaging time-travel and steampunk hybrid that includes pithy pit stops for comic commentary, including Barton’s snarky remark about the Boston Tea Party memorial (“Never seen a monument commemorating a lost war”). The narrative’s airship grand finale is particularly enjoyable and a splashy deus ex machina extravaganza. This novel is rather brief, however, leaving many of the mechanics fueling Dennehy’s engine (the role of Roland, for example) somewhat unclear. Still, it’s a fun and fascinating mashup—and a promising setup for further steampunk shenanigans.

A colorful and captivating time-travel adventure with fearsome creatures.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-925493-99-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Severed Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 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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