Another satisfying summer read from the queen of the beach.

READ REVIEW

THE HIGH TIDE CLUB

A single-mom lawyer takes on the case of a mysterious elderly woman in this novel full of friendship and nostalgia.

When Brooke Trappnell gets a call from 99-year-old Josephine Bettendorf Warrick, she doesn’t know what the peculiar millionaire could want with her. There are more successful lawyers in her coastal Georgia town, and the two have never met. But since Brooke is broke and desperate to put food on the table for her 3-year-old son, she takes a boat out to Talisa Island to speak with Josephine in her crumbling mansion. It turns out that Josephine is dying, and she wants to keep the state from taking her land and tearing down her house for a conference center or something like that after she’s gone. Cantankerous Josephine wants the island to go to her three oldest, dearest friends—Millie, Ruth, and Varina, the High Tide Club girls. The women were estranged for decades, and two of them are dead, but Josephine wants Brooke to track down the only living High Tide Club girl and the descendants of the others and bring them to Talisa so she can make amends. Josephine is keeping many secrets, about why she wants to make amends and about an unsolved murder that occurred on the island years ago, but she dies before she can explain anything—or sign her will . Now, the group of women must find a way to save Josephine’s island from being taken over by the state—which involves finding out exactly what happened in Josephine’s past. Andrews (The Weekenders, 2016, etc.) creates a story that is at turns suspenseful, sad, and hopeful, with plenty of surprising twists. Her dialogue is natural and funny, and even her minor characters are fully drawn with unique voices. The slight romantic thread between Brooke and her former boyfriend could be more detailed, but the focus is mainly on the friendships, old and new, between the members of the High Tide Club and their descendants.

Another satisfying summer read from the queen of the beach.

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12606-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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

OUTFOX

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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