A light, enjoyable murder mystery that marks the beginning of a promising new series.

The Big Lead


From the Stella Reynolds Mystery series , Vol. 1

A rookie reporter delves into a small town’s big secrets in Kirsch’s debut mystery novel.

Stella Reynolds is desperate. She needs a job, and her only option is a tiny TV station in Bozeman, Montana, far away from the glamorous life of a big-city reporter. The hours are long, the equipment is ancient, and newsworthy stories are few and far between. As she begins to learn the ropes of her new job, she chases a story that has the potential to launch her to bigger and better things. While her colleagues cover animal adoptions at the Humane Society and the buffalo situation in Yellowstone National Park, she manages to stumble across an unexpectedly juicy story involving a double murder. It’s big news, but the sheriff’s case against the prime murder suspect is weak, and there’s something fishy going on with the investigation. It soon becomes apparent that the deaths are only the tip of the iceberg; there’s an even bigger story out there involving a conspiracy that could bring down local, state, and federal authorities. Stella follows the trail, assisted by her co-workers and a potential love interest from a competing network. Kirsch’s novel is full of humor, mystery, and romantic tension. The story is well-paced, deftly balancing action with moments of suspense and discovery. Stella is a wonderfully relatable protagonist who spills coffee with startling regularity yet manages to maintain an air of composure when covering stories. Kirsch’s own journalistic background lends an authenticity to the tale, and Stella’s on-screen flubs, embarrassing moments, and small-town reporting feel legitimate. Solid supporting characters offer additional interest, especially Stella’s acerbic co-worker Vindi. Although readers will appreciate the presence of John, the handsome love interest, the rapport between Vindi and Stella brings a little girl power to the classic Holmes/Watson–style relationship.

A light, enjoyable murder mystery that marks the beginning of a promising new series.  

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9969350-0-5

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Sunnyside Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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