Additional ghost-sightings would be vastly more entertaining than the tepid romance subplot.

READ REVIEW

THE STRANGERS ON MONTAGU STREET

In the third of White’s series starring psychic Realtor Melanie “Mellie” Middleton, Mellie copes with the warring ghostly denizens of another Charleston historic home.

Any jokes about her failure to predict the housing bubble aside, Mellie’s clairvoyance is more the “Sixth Sense” variety: The dead people she sees are not just any dearly departed. The spirits she wrangles are an occupational hazard of owning “This Old House.” As her 40th birthday approaches, Mellie’s on-again, off-again flirtation with heartthrob Jack is off: he’s dating her cousin, pretty-in-pink Rebecca. Mellie’s mother and father, for decades estranged from her and each other, are back in her life, and she and her opera diva mother share ghost-hunting duty. Jack learns he has a 13-year-old daughter, Nola, when the teen lands on his doorstep. Since her mother, singer-songwriter Bonnie (a drug addict who committed suicide), told her that Jack deserted the two of them, Nola doesn’t trust her father. (Indeed, his personality is so volatile that readers will wonder why anyone, including Mellie, would.) Nola finds shelter with Mellie, who notices Bonnie hovering nearby. As Mellie tries unsuccessfully to nudge Bonnie toward the light, poltergeists attack the antique dollhouse in Nola’s bedroom. And no wonder: The dollhouse is a replica of a decaying mansion on Montagu Street inhabited by the last of the prominent Manigault family, Miss Julia, an ancient piano teacher. Mellie convinces Nola to take music lessons from Julia, and Julia asks Mellie to contact her brother William, who has been dead since 1938, the year that Julia’s fiancé Jonathan also died, followed shortly by her parents, Harold and Anne. Ever since, Julia and her house have been haunted by the contentious ghosts of William and Harold. Although her visions of hollow-eyed Harold convince her he’s evil, Mellie suspects that Julia herself is no angel, and that merely helping William and Harold to “move on” will not lift the Manigault curse.

Additional ghost-sightings would be vastly more entertaining than the tepid romance subplot.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23526-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: New American Library

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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