A page-turning sprint with the potential for a series of thrillers starring the nautical hero.

BAYTOWN SALVAGE

A struggling captain of a salvage tug and his crew find plenty of trouble on a scorching vessel.

Wheaton (Wages of Sin, 2017, etc.) has lately been whipping up a storm of thrillers. This time, he sets his sights on the pill-popping captain of the salvage tug Yemanjá, Wyatt Stoke, and his ragtag band of misfits—first mate Jake Delahoussaye, an aging alcoholic; engineer Chuy Perez, a former gang member and three-time felon; and Party Mpanbani, a tall, experienced salvager from South Africa without a green card. Wyatt has already washed out of the Navy, been dropped as a long-haul trucker after a random drug test, and lost his job with a power company in Louisiana. Then a barely remembered uncle leaves him his salvage tug and a “crumbling old swamp shack” on the wrong side of Baytown, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico. If only Wyatt could make some money out of the small, underfunded company that must compete with the big guys. When a container ship is reported burning and unanchored, drifting toward the entrance to Buffalo Bayou, and nobody seems to be racing to stake the salvage claim, Wyatt sees his chance—board the vessel and turn on the sprinkler system to keep the craft from sinking. Difficult, dangerous, and potentially lucrative. But when he and Jake finally reach the engine room, they discover the bodies of two men who had been tied up and shot; they are now involved in something far larger and more sinister than a salvage operation. This is a plot-driven narrative filled with a broad assortment of menacing players, from bayou swamp rats to a beautiful Russian oligarch. Despite the minimum attention paid to character development, Wyatt and his cohorts come off as a likable, loyal makeshift family that readers can root for. Occasional editing blips are intrusive (for example, “There were ten times as men law enforcement officials”), but overall the pace never slackens. Wheaton includes enough details about the mechanics of diving and the legalities of salvaging to create a realistic background for this over-the-top adventure.

A page-turning sprint with the potential for a series of thrillers starring the nautical hero.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2017

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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