Canine lovers should appreciate this affectionate account of the difference a beloved pet makes in an owner’s life.




When a New England woman adopts a dog left homeless after Hurricane Katrina, they both start over in this debut novel based on real events.

In September 2005, Elizabeth, despite being a “surly, middle-aged, reticent New Englander with a broken heart,” is settling well into her new home in a small town on the seacoast where Maine and New Hampshire meet. She has her work, running a small art-supply shop, and everything she needs—except for a dog. She wants one that’s faithful, affectionate, athletic, and trainable, and is a Katrina refugee that couldn’t be reunited with its owner. A local rescue operation has a good match, Jersey, a small, black schipperke mix; bred to chase rats, she’s full of energy and can easily keep up with Elizabeth’s daily runs. Elizabeth renames the dog Cray-Kur, with many nicknames to follow, including Crazy Bones. In asides, represented by a different font, Cray-Kur adds her perspective, such as “Why do you people need so many things? All you really need is food, clean water, and a comfortable bed.” Through various experiences—a medical emergency; the discovery of the canine’s original owner; Elizabeth’s father’s death; her marriage to Ernie; moves to Virginia and Florida—dog and caretaker agree: Both are glad to have rescued each other. In her book, Wissink-Tressler focuses on the relationship between pet and owner. Cray-Kur tends to take over the narrative when it gets too personal, so readers see Elizabeth’s courtship with Ernie and the death of her father mainly through the dog’s eyes. This storytelling technique can limit the depth of exploration into Elizabeth’s life, but it can work well as a metaphor for how animals help people to mediate big emotions. Though the novel can become overly sentimental, the emotions often ring true. Appreciation for animal-loving volunteers and the letters between Elizabeth and the canine’s original owner are some of the story’s strongest, most genuinely moving features. The tale is illustrated with family photographs of the author’s dog, the original Crazy Bones, and Scooty, Ernie’s miniature schnauzer.

Canine lovers should appreciate this affectionate account of the difference a beloved pet makes in an owner’s life.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 106

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2018

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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