A pleasant and well-made tale, the more agreeable for its light tone and touch.

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SOLOS

Likable caper by Florey (Souvenir of Cold Springs, 2002, etc.) about a convivial set of Brooklyn artists who make the best of a bad world while fighting off serial rapists and hit men.

Most people move to the secluded Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg in search of cheap rents, large lofts, and a well-established arts scene; Marcus Mead moved there for its Zip Code (11211, one of the few palindromic Zip Codes in New York). This sort of thing is important to Marcus, who walks dogs for a living and grew up reading the White Pages for fun. One of his clients is Emily Lime, a divorced photographer who lives with a dog, a cockatoo, and a closet full of ugly paintings left to her by an old friend from the neighborhood. Emily has become increasingly fond of Marcus since he began walking her dog, a good sign that she is finally getting over her divorce, though it raises some problems, too. For one thing, Marcus is her stepson, born 20 years ago to her ex-husband Tad Hartwell and his old flame Summer Mead. He is also 16 years younger than Emily. And he has just been hired by Tad to murder Emily for $200,000. Marcus is at something of a loss: He’s never killed anyone before, and he rather likes Emily. But he also needs money for a pickup truck and has wanted some way of getting closer to his dad (who left him when he was eight) now that his mother has died. As Marcus begins to dig into the story of his father’s marriage to Emily, he makes a number of discoveries that no one (or, at least, few people) might have guessed at. Does he go through with the plan? The most that can decently be said is that he solves his father’s problems in the end.

A pleasant and well-made tale, the more agreeable for its light tone and touch.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2004

ISBN: 0-425-19599-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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