With sparkling wit, Southern charm, and a steady pace, Miss Lilly has hit her stride.

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These Boots Are Made for Butt-Kickin'

THE MISADVENTURES OF MISS LILLY, VOLUME TWO

Lloyd’s (Home Is Where Your Boots Are, 2015) second book in the MisAdventures of Miss Lilly series finds small-town lawyer Lilly Atkins kicking herself after shooting her ex-boyfriend in the foot.

With Cash Stetson in rehab, Lilly might also need therapy to get through a divorce case that brings back unhappy memories of both her cowardly ex-boyfriend and her cheating ex-fiance. Veronica Kellner’s husband is leaving her, and she needs Lilly’s help to secure her children’s inheritance after he’s gone. Soon, Lilly is bruised and bloodied in a series of mishaps—some accidental, some self-inflicted—while she investigates the couple’s secrets. As the danger escalates, Lilly finds that “the best place to find grace is with the people that know all the bad stuff you’ve done.” Lilly is as brazen as ever, and her gaggle of loudmouthed friends ride shotgun as she gossips, trespasses, and steals to get the information she needs while local law officials look the other way. Some clues are laugh-out-loud funny—like the telltale nightie that implicates a woman’s fiance in a crime worse than cheating—and dead bodies are thrown like pies in the face of justice. Lawyer and “former Yankee FBI agent” Spencer Locke, whose uncle Charlie represents Mr. Kellner in the divorce settlement, is powerless to keep Lilly out of trouble when the right side of the law is whatever side she’s standing on at any given moment. Lilly says Spencer is “as bad as Gladys Cobb’s perfume”: “Nauseously permeating and infinitely irritating”—or at least irritating enough to hint at romance without overwhelming the plot. In the previous book, Lilly’s cases piled up on her desk while she cataloged her long history with her hometown friends; in this sequel, each of her new cases feeds into the next until the evidence shows how they are all connected. It’s a formula in which every ingredient has been perfectly measured, and it works. Still, readers who are new to the series could start with this book and quickly catch up.

With sparkling wit, Southern charm, and a steady pace, Miss Lilly has hit her stride.

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lloyd Words

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

ALL ADULTS HERE

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus run over a longtime acquaintance of hers—Barbara Baker, a woman she doesn't like very much—it's only the beginning of the shake-ups to come in her life and the lives of those she loves.

Astrid has been tootling along contentedly in the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, New York, a 68-year-old widow with three grown children. After many years of singlehood since her husband died, she's been quietly seeing Birdie Gonzalez, her hairdresser, for the past two years, and after Barbara's death she determines to tell her children about the relationship: "There was no time to waste, not in this life. There were always more school buses." Elliot, her oldest, who's in real estate, lives in Clapham with his wife, Wendy, who's Chinese American, and their twins toddlers, Aidan and Zachary, who are "such hellions that only a fool would willingly ask for more." Astrid's daughter, Porter, owns a nearby farm producing artisanal goat cheese and has just gotten pregnant through a sperm bank while having an affair with her married high school boyfriend. Nicky, the youngest Strick, is disconcertingly famous for having appeared in an era-defining movie when he was younger and now lives in Brooklyn with his French wife, Juliette, and their daughter, Cecelia, who's being shipped up to live with Astrid for a while after her friend got mixed up with a pedophile she met online. As always, Straub (Modern Lovers, 2016, etc.) draws her characters warmly, making them appealing in their self-centeredness and generosity, their insecurity and hope. The cast is realistically diverse, though in most ways it's fairly superficial; the fact that Birdie is Latina or Porter's obstetrician is African American doesn't have much impact on the story or their characters. Cecelia's new friend, August, wants to make the transition to Robin; that storyline gets more attention, with the two middle schoolers supporting each other through challenging times. The Stricks worry about work, money, sex, and gossip; Straub has a sharp eye for her characters' foibles and the details of their liberal, upper-middle-class milieu.

With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59463-469-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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