NIGHT OWL

From the Night Owl Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A secretive author meets a young woman online, leading to an affair that turns destructive.

Matt Sky—who has a secret life as the best-selling but pseudonymous author M. Pierce—inexplicably begins exchanging manuscript pages with Hannah, a fledgling writer he met online and finds attractive. He pursues her in person, and the two begin a highly erotic affair. Matt has a girlfriend who's traveling internationally, so after a couple of weeks of hot sex with Hannah, and an increasingly tender—or possibly co-dependent—attachment, he calls the girlfriend and breaks up with her via cellphone. Girlfriend gets really mad and outs Matt as M. Pierce, which creates a shock wave across the world. Hannah can’t believe Matt didn’t tell her and won’t talk to him. Ever. Again. Except once he goes into a downward spiral, she realizes she is the cause. So of course she must help him through it. M. Pierce (yes, that’s the name of the actual author as well as the main character) has penned a well-written if melodramatic erotic novel. While the storyline seems compelling on the surface, a few questions come to mind: Why is a best-selling author exchanging pages with a young, unknown writer? Why, after a few weeks of a relationship, would a woman feel entitled to know her lover's deeply hidden secret identity? Why would that woman—who felt like he was the most amazing thing that ever happened to her—feel so outraged by his "betrayal" that she’d cut him off completely? Especially when she knows he’s a recovering alcoholic and then, reading his biography after he’s been outed, learns he survived a suicide attempt? The first third of the book is promising, but once M. Pierce is outed, what is presented as drama is more like seventh-grade immaturity.

Erotically charged, but the characters are immature and annoying.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-05823-2

Page Count: 262

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

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

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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

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

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