Distinct characters become embroiled in a dark, riveting mystery.


In this second installment of a thriller series, a woman returns to her hometown for a funeral and winds up in the middle of both a family squabble and a murder conspiracy.

Kelly Durrell has lived in Colorado for the past eight years but left her Morrison, Illinois, hometown two decades ago. She’s estranged from her parents, who never approved of her drug-dealing high school boyfriend, Troy Ingram. Her reason for being back in Morrison is the funeral of Uncle George and Aunt Sarah, victims of a brutal double murder to which Troy has already confessed. Word around town is that he claims he killed them because Kelly broke his heart when she dumped him prior to leaving Morrison. Surprisingly, his lawyer, Lizzy D’Angelo, wants Kelly’s help, as she believes someone coerced Troy into committing the crimes. Meanwhile, George and Sarah’s kids, Heidi and Ray, are feuding over the inheritance. Kelly’s dad, Jack, is executor of the estate, but his apparent apathy prompts her to step in and take a closer look at the finances. She soon suspects Heidi or Ray may have somehow orchestrated the murders. Her ensuing search for answers incites more than one individual as things escalate into assaults, kidnappings, and more killings. Maddox (Darkroom, 2016, etc.) so precisely crafts characters and backstory that Kelly’s involvement in the slowly building mystery is organic. For example, helping Lizzy can clear up the Kelly-centric rumor of Troy’s motive and simultaneously identify the person truly culpable for her aunt’s and uncle’s homicides. While readers are privy to the initial killings, the subsequent murders as well as a frightening attack against Kelly are shocking. The story is often bleak: The death of Kelly’s sister, Beth, a few years earlier seemingly torments her parents, and both Heidi and Ray are dubious enough to be behind the homicides. Likewise, the author doesn’t pull any punches, with a fair share of violent moments and one particularly unnerving scene that will convince readers to check their restaurant food thoroughly.

Distinct characters become embroiled in a dark, riveting mystery.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-942737-10-0

Page Count: 365

Publisher: Cantraip Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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