The ever tenacious, controversial, and quite charming vigilante Dr. Jack Andrews proves his worth once again in this work of...



A drug running Iowa family expands its operation and pays the ultimate price in this third volume of a series.

Veteran operating-room physician and author Veldt (Unfortunate Behavior, 2017, etc.) continues his suspenseful series featuring anesthesiologist Dr. Jack Andrews with this entry that begins with an unexpected shootout between Omaha Sgt. Mike Weber and two mystery men. Meanwhile, after years struggling to make ends meet supporting a wife and four children, local Iowa farmer Bill Daniels finally gets to enjoy a new barn on his family property thanks to trafficking marijuana and methamphetamines. Now nearing 60 years old, Daniels wants out of the business, but his sons Junior, Steve, and Chris have become intoxicated by the thought of making more money on their own by transporting fentanyl to Omaha, and they unceremoniously encourage their father to retire. The author seamlessly ties the opening gunfight to the main plot and identifies one of the dead men shot by Weber as Daniels’ drug running son Steve. The surviving brothers vow revenge and hatch a plan to murder Weber, settle the score, and solidify their hardcore reputation in the urban drug trade. Enter local anesthesiologist, personal ethics crusader, one-man equalizer, and series standard Andrews, who is infuriated by the attempt on the sergeant’s life and promises to avenge the ordeal and bring the offenders to justice. As is typically the case with Andrews, balancing his clinical work at a teaching hospital and efforts to investigate a crime keep him intensely busy, especially since Weber, whom he’s had interactions with, winds up as a patient at his workplace. In this rousing installment, the Daniels clan and its narcotics operation get a boost from second cousin Alex, who joins the brothers in their enterprise. The sergeant then receives a dire diagnosis from doctors, who say the bullet that grazed his hip could spell the end of his active police work. Leads are scarce in the shooting case as the Daniels brothers zero in on Weber’s address and plan a sniper stakeout to kill the sergeant, but Chris ends up injuring his family instead. Veldt writes in spare prose devoid of expository details, exposing the crime and its consequences on both sides of the law. But this particular quality winds up being a double-edged sword. While the story is told with a swift, unfettered sense of urgency and the villains are depicted as supremely nasty, cutthroat, and vindictive, the lack of backstory on any player, good or bad, leaves the characters disappointingly one-dimensional and without internal motivations. If readers can sidestep the relatively superficial character development, the action remains relentless, and the criminals, who’ve become embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game involving the police, Andrews, and a dogged member of the press, demonstrate enough violent brutality and vengeful bloodthirst to meet the good guys toe to toe.

The ever tenacious, controversial, and quite charming vigilante Dr. Jack Andrews proves his worth once again in this work of suspenseful crime fiction.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-9831-0150-2

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2018

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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