Diverting tale of murder, espionage, and the possibility of living forever.


A private U.S. security firm that handles black-ops contracts hunts a woman whose research may hold the key to immortality in Hummel’s debut thriller.

In the early 2000s, Dr. Karen Spencer is studying the Turritopsis dohrnii in North Carolina. These dime-sized, red-stomached jellyfish defy death by transforming themselves into young adults in lieu of succumbing to old age or trauma. She and her CIA psychologist husband, Ted, work with Basil Orlov, who oversees the agency’s black ops. While Karen is interested in the jellyfish’s healing aspects, Basil, it seems, wants to weaponize it as a neurotoxin. But it’s soon clear the 80-something Basil believes the jellyfish can provide eternal youth. Not trusting the man, Karen keeps mum about a significant development in her research. So Basil, who later freelances with his own firm, ultimately targets the Spencers’ daughter, Chloe, after learning she has Karen’s research journal. Accordingly, Chloe hides under the alias Lucy but has help from her uncle, Don Bel Castro, and, eventually, Dr. Nick Caedwallan, both of whom are CIA employees. She’s also friends with Tommie Whitefeather, an American Indian who’s familiar with the jellyfish and considerably older than he appears. Unfortunately for Chloe, Basil is rapacious and has access to assassins. Though this narrative primarily entails Basil’s pursuit of Karen’s research, Nick garners the brightest spotlight. Along with his own 1985-set subplot (a CIA mission in Afghanistan), he faces the most conflict: He’s wracked with guilt over his involvement in two assassinations and battling inoperable lung cancer. A physician and former Navy flight surgeon, Hummel maintains a consistent momentum with short scenes and brief chapters, and his scientific elucidation of Turritopsis dohrnii should engage even readers unfamiliar with the terminology. The ending offers resolution but lets a few things linger, including the fates of at least two characters and romance between Nick and Chloe that remains mostly implied. Nevertheless, it’s prime material for a sequel, as this is the first installment of a planned series.

Diverting tale of murder, espionage, and the possibility of living forever. 

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 426

Publisher: Inkshares

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2020

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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