A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE

A sharp, edgy caper with a final surprise.

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

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

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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 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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