A sharp, edgy caper with a final surprise.

A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE

A dark novel brings together a collection of emotionally compromised characters whose lives unfortunately intersect in Italy.

Stefano Orso, who is beginning to age out of the escort market, is in Berlin when readers meet him. He is there to steal a wooden box. Now supplementing his dwindling income by moving into the burglary business, he is carrying out an assignment for a dangerous man known only as Flavio. But things go very wrong, and Stef barely escapes, empty-handed. Thus begins a series of misadventures. Stef flies home to Milan. There, he runs into Beatrice at a gathering, where she mistakenly thought she was going to hook up with a man named Paolo she had been flirting with online. As it turns out, Paolo is there with Elena, a beautiful, elegant designer who travels with a coterie of admirers. When Stef—with whom Beatrice had enjoyed a short, ill-fated affair years ago—unexpectedly joins the group, she decides to renew their acquaintance. There is an instant magnetism between the two, an attraction she will have reason to rue. Petruzziello’s narrative is a meandering, vicarious, touristy escapade through Milan featuring the city’s architectural and artistic highlights as well as upscale eateries, quirky nightclubs, and one local bar where Beatrice waitresses. In the restroom of this bar, Stef discovers an apparently dead patron, who fell and hit his head on the washroom sink. Afraid of calling the police, Stef convinces Beatrice to help him dispose of the corpse, involving her in a twisty plot in which nothing goes as planned—especially after the body reappears at the bar. With a talent for piercing the vainglorious veneer of his hapless protagonists, the author lightens the murder-and-mayhem action with biting humor. Readers know who Stef is from the first page, when, in the middle of the Berlin burglary, he pauses to gaze at his satisfying reflection in the mirror: “He just couldn’t help himself.” Morose secondary character Kevin Benton, an American unwittingly ensnared by Flavio, serves as the vehicle for the moody tale’s one serious message.

A sharp, edgy caper with a final surprise.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73506-542-7

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Magnusmade

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2020

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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