A taut, nail-biting courtroom drama.

A GOOD MOTHER

In journalist and law professor Bazelon’s tense fiction debut, a young woman goes on trial for the stabbing murder of her soldier husband.

Hard-charging Los Angeles federal public defense attorney Abby Rosenberg is due to give birth any time now, but her new case already has her hooked. Nineteen-year-old Luz Rivera Hollis was taken into custody at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany and sent back to LA after supposedly stabbing her husband, Sgt. Travis Hollis, to death. Luz has been charged with first-degree murder, but Abby isn’t quite sure that her client grasps the gravity of the situation; all she cares about is getting to be with her 2-month-old daughter, Cristina. Abby manages to get the judge to set bail and release Luz to her grandmother, and then she's off on maternity leave. Abby’s new baby son is a delight, but she chafes at the monotony of sleepless nights and feedings, and she angers her partner, Nic Mulvaney, by announcing that she wants to go back to work early. She’s not about to hand over control of Luz’s case to Will Ellet, a wet-behind-the-ears former JAG attorney with 19th-century views on womanhood, but she does have to partner with him, and he makes it crystal clear what he thinks of her decision to come back early. As Abby and Will prepare the enigmatic Luz for trial, their personal lives begin to fall apart. Bazelon knows her way around a courtroom and unfolds one surprise after another while deftly exploring motherhood and the often crushing expectations that come with raising a family, not to mention the condescending treatment of women in a largely male workplace. Abby sees herself in Luz, who is willing to do anything to protect her little girl, but was her action self-defense or coldblooded murder?

A taut, nail-biting courtroom drama.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-335-91609-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A must for fans of Dan Brown and Arturo Perez-Reverte.

THE LAST MONA LISA

What might have happened to the Mona Lisa when it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 and stayed missing for two years?

Art historian Luke Perrone has been obsessed with the history of the Mona Lisa ever since learning that his great-grandfather Vincenzo Peruggia was the man who stole it from the Louvre. When he's contacted by an Italian professor who claims to know the location of Vincenzo's journal, Luke immediately drops everything and flies to Florence. There, he becomes drawn into two mysteries: one from the past (why did Peruggia steal the painting?) and one from the present (why has everyone who's recently encountered the journal died?). As he unravels the story of the first, he becomes more deeply embroiled in the second and begins to fear for his own safety—especially when he finds out he’s being watched. With the help of a beautiful American woman; an INTERPOL agent; and a famous art forger he meets in Paris, Luke begins to wonder whether the painting hanging in the Louvre, returned after the theft, is even the true Mona Lisa. Someone clearly cares enough about the answer to keep killing those who know about the journal, so Luke must rush to find the answers before he’s next. Through Vincenzo’s story as well as occasional chapters that share background on supporting characters, Santlofer crafts a layered and absorbing art mystery, complete with exciting action scenes and beautiful descriptions of the city of Florence and its art as well as Paris and Nice. It’s the human story at the heart of it, though, that really elevates the novel. Vincenzo’s motives for art theft are both pure and heart-rending, and Luke, flawed and struggling, seems to innately grasp what the person behind the recent violent deaths cannot: A work of art, no matter how precious, cannot be worth more than a human life.

A must for fans of Dan Brown and Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72824-076-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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