An intricately plotted exploration of teen parenthood that moves like a thriller.



A young couple must navigate the challenges and temptations of adulthood and marriage in Lahti’s debut novel.

When young teenager Casey Peterson meets handsome, 18-year-old Michael Davis at Six Flags Over Texas, she instantly falls in love. Michael, who has a talent for singing and playing guitar, graduated from high school early and now works for his father’s construction company. The young couple is soon inseparable, and Michael begins calling her “Jessie,” short for “Jessicalina,” which he says means “beautiful.” After a year of dating, they face a very adult reality when she becomes pregnant at 15. Michael convinces Casey to marry him despite their parents’ objections to their relationship. They find a place to live, and Casey, who’s dropped out of school, legally changes her name to “Jessie.” When she gives birth to twin daughters, Ischelle and Ashley, they’re overjoyed, and they eventually reconcile with their parents. Despite their happiness, though, they soon face challenges that test the strength of their relationship, including Michael’s jealous streak. An extended visit to Michael’s grandparents’ home ends in an act of violence that leaves Jessie physically and emotionally traumatized. Later, Michael rents rooms in their own home to a divorcée and her three children—a decision that puts the couple’s relationship in jeopardy. Lahti’s novel is part coming-of-age novel and part suspense yarn. The character development is strong throughout, and it offers a thoughtful examination of the realities of teen parenthood. Jessie, who serves as the narrator, is the story’s anchor, and her voice is poignant and authentic as she evolves from a naïve teenager in love to a wife and mother struggling to keep a troubled marriage together while wondering what her life might have been like if she’d stayed in school. Michael is a similarly nuanced character—a young man whose love for Jessie and his family is nearly overshadowed by his own demons. Other prominent subplots, such as when another teenager becomes obsessed with Michael, keep the novel moving at a brisk pace.

An intricately plotted exploration of teen parenthood that moves like a thriller. 

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4809-4095-6

Page Count: 492

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.


A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet