Evading killers sets the groundwork for a sublimely written story of love and passion.



Soon after meeting an attractive, mysterious Englishman, an American woman learns that a society of assassins has targeted her lineage in this romantic-thriller debut.

Art teacher Ellie James spies a beefy, handsome stranger watching her in a crowd. Standing out in Ellie’s small Connecticut town, the man, Will Hastings, introduces himself when he sees her later. He also shows up at her house after she comes home to tragedy: her grandmother and older sister, Isobel, lying in a pool of blood. Ellie finds Isobel’s terrified 7-year-old daughter, Lissie, hiding, and once Will convinces her he’s there to help, they flee. Will explains that a group of British assassins called the Order is after Ellie’s bloodline—a family rife with secrets of which she was unaware. He further believes he can better protect Ellie in England, along with his equally brawny brothers and security team, the Six, each formerly of the British Armed Forces. Will wants Ellie with a bodyguard at all times, preferably himself, as the two can’t withhold their physical yearning for very long. But all that safeguarding doesn’t prevent the Order from making attempts on her life—or trying to draw her out in the open by aiming at someone she loves. Clare takes a curious approach to her engrossing story: the assassin plot primarily unfolds in the background, as narrator Ellie doesn’t witness much of the action. The focus is on romance, with Will and Ellie engaging in provocative and often vigorous sex, intensified by their strong emotional connection and history (he’s known about her for a while). Will’s machismo is a bit overdone: he grunts and growls and repeatedly threatens to kill anyone who touches Ellie, even his own brothers. Nevertheless, Clare animates her tale with elegant prose, whether it’s the “old charm” of Will’s estate or the couple’s intimacy (“Then, enraptured by my submission, he finally let go—my warrior took me hard on a soft bed of roses”).

Evading killers sets the groundwork for a sublimely written story of love and passion.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943006-52-6

Page Count: 317

Publisher: Spark Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2017

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


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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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.


An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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