An enjoyable, action-packed crime tale with strong language.



A wisecracking sleuth explores dangerous happenings in Miami in this second installment of a mystery series.

Jose Castillo, a luxury car repairman, moonlights as a private investigator. Usually, his cases involve minor infractions such as personal injury incidents or infidelity. He goes on stakeouts in his van equipped with the latest spy technology courtesy of his computer wiz pal, Jim Gafford. Jose is hired by Lesson, a strip club security guard who fears for his safety. After Lesson overhears strange rumblings from his Russian boss, Volkov, his house is mysteriously firebombed. Turns out, Volkov has been on the police radar for years and Jose steps in to uncover what is going on. When Jose learns that Volkov is part of the Russian mafia, he enlists the help of old military friends Chris and Chini. Jose uses out-of-the-box, risky measures in his work (for example, kidnapping and drugging a potential informant). Soon, Jose is targeted by Volkov’s gang and must wrangle himself—and his loved ones, including his fiancee, Kat—out of trouble. Meanwhile, Miami police are on the hunt for a killer targeting sex workers. After investigative reporter Lola Sanchez is murdered by the culprit while working undercover, Jose joins his best friend, Homicide Detective Nate Devine, in the search for the serial killer. Goyanes (Miami Beat, 2012) often includes captivating descriptions, many focusing on Jose’s car restorations, local Cuban food and eateries, and factoids about the city. A scene in the Miami Tunnel prompts: “The Miami Tunnel was first proposed in 1983 to alleviate the traffic....Between the burgeoning cruise ship traffic and the steady flow of the cargo container industry, it became evident that something had to be done.” But the dialogue can be explicit, which may disturb some readers. For example, characters toss out slurs (one scene features homophobic language in an interaction with a cross-dressing sex worker). Although Jose and friends’ sarcastic banter often pokes fun at different cultures and ethnicities, the private eye explains: “All of us come from different descendants...we rag on each other like brothers because circumstances have put us together...we have had each other’s back at some point.” While the murders are detailed and graphic, the plot is engaging and Jose is a stand-up, strong protagonist. His intriguing back story contributes to his detective skills quite well.

An enjoyable, action-packed crime tale with strong language.

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63338-340-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Fulton Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.


Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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