An unsympathetic main character dooms this unlikely story from the start.



After a shocking act of violence, a hotshot surgical resident attempts to put his life back together in Faderan’s debut novel.

Mike Oates wants the top surgical residency spot at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut; he’s tired of flattering the chief of surgery, Bartholomew, and he wants the glory that goes with being called the best. He discovers just how far he’ll go to achieve his dreams when he stabs another doctor, James Levy, so that he won’t rat him out to Bartholomew regarding a parking-spot dispute. Stunned by the realization that he could go to jail for murder, Oates seeks legal advice from family friend Jonathan Moore and his daughter, Lauren, both attorneys in Columbus, Ohio. Oates is drawn to Lauren and pursues a relationship with her despite the conflict of interest, and she soon succumbs to his charms, pledging to help him avoid prison time. After they realize that Levy was killed by a second stab wound after Oates fled, they find themselves entangled with a mob boss who’s connected to Oates’ late father as well as to the nurse whom Oates left for Lauren. Can Oates clear his name and regain his medical career? It’s audacious of Faderan to start her novel with the protagonist committing a crime and then undertake the project of redeeming him. If she’d managed it, it would have made for a fascinating book. However, the plot is too implausible, and Oates, as a character, has few redeeming qualities to make readers root for him. He may be handsome and drive a Maserati, but his behavior toward women is offensive; at one point, he follows Lauren to her hotel room and forcibly kisses her, despite her clear efforts to pull away. And although he didn’t strike the blow that killed Levy, he certainly meant to kill him, so why should readers want him to get away with it? Faderan’s prose is also somewhat flat and awkward, tripping over stilted phrases such as “Rebecca espied a duo of medical men standing by the doorway.”

An unsympathetic main character dooms this unlikely story from the start.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5434-6635-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: XlibrisUS

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2018

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


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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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.


An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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