A scary, smart, sweet, sexy CIA tale.

Color of Blood

Returning to work after his wife’s death, a CIA investigator leaves on assignment for Australia, where he encounters danger, romance, and, unexpectedly, poetry.

As this thriller opens, CIA investigator Dennis Cunningham lies on the ground staring at the shoes of the person who betrayed and then shot him. The novel flashes back six months, when Cunningham returns to work after a lengthy bereavement leave. His boss asks him to soften his usual confrontational style and track down Geoffrey Garder, a junior agent who disappeared while working in Australia. What initially seems to Cunningham like a demeaning “Cub Scout assignment” becomes more intriguing when he arrives in Perth, in part because of his Australian Federal Police contact, recently divorced Agent Judy White. Cunningham is attracted to the Aussie with the shapely legs and upturned nose, and she is drawn to the gruff, blue-eyed Yank. As Cunningham learns more about Garder, such as his penchants for poetry and rare watches, the missing agent’s car is located in the Shark Bay area. It’s assumed he went snorkeling and became lunch for a great white. But when Cunningham discovers Garder’s belongings were covered in uranium, questions emerge. Believing the shark theory suspicious, Cunningham thinks the agent may still be alive. His investigation takes him home to the U.S., then to Switzerland, and finally back Down Under. Because Yocum (Daniel, 2015, etc.) has lived in Australia, descriptions of Perth and the surrounding area are vivid. While working the case, Cunningham discovers the beautiful colors of Australia—the green-blue waters, orange-red dust, and pink tufted birds—but he also encounters another hue, the color of blood. In an unrelated drug-deal case, White falls victim to violence but survives a searing torture scene. She and Cunningham learn that, aside from their jobs, they have several other things in common. For example, each has only one child, and both parent-child relationships enrich the book. The scenes of Cunningham and White helping each other on their cases are especially smart, and their romance feels genuine. Along with suspense related to their assignments and the possibility of being double-crossed, there’s tension over whether their extremely geographically challenged relationship can survive.  

A scary, smart, sweet, sexy CIA tale.

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Kindle Press

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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IT ENDS WITH US

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.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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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