A fun, fleshed-out fantasy with sympathetic main characters.



A detective agency helps mutants created by radiation in this romantic fantasy thriller, the first in the Redclaw Origins series by Dean (Ghost of a Chance, 2018, etc.).

New York, 1955. Henrietta “Rhett” Bishop, a daughter of privilege whose father has gambled away the family fortune before taking his own life, must find a way to provide for herself. She takes a job at Redclaw Security, an unusual detective agency tasked with aiding the growing population of “shifters”—mutants created by radiation unleashed in the nuclear age. After Rhett proves her value to the firm during what she thought was an attempted robbery, her shifter boss sends her on a mission. Her target is Peter Knight, a nuclear scientist and widower whose wife died in a hit-and-run that looks like murder. He’s been blacklisted by the government for suspected Communist sympathies and has since dropped out of sight. Peter’s skills are highly desirable, however, and Rhett is sent to recruit him for Redclaw, though that’s not the only organization interested in him. She manages to locate Peter, and, with the promise that Redclaw will help him learn more about his wife’s death, she convinces him to join. Together they are sent after a stolen cache of artifacts hijacked en route to the Redclaw headquarters, artifacts that seem to have resurfaced in the Hamptons amid Rhett’s moneyed former crowd. Dean’s prose balances the urgency of romantic fantasy with the muscular rhythms of detective noir: “A quick glance at Knight showed he was losing his ability to maintain any part of his disguise. Even as I blanked on what to say to him, his face slowly morphed back into his own. I had no time to think it through. I just acted, grabbing Knight by the back of his neck and pulling him into a kiss, all the while fumbling behind me, clutch in hand, for the handle to the room beside us.” While the book relies heavily on archetypes, Dean does so with a winking self-awareness. Rhett and Peter are both well drawn and likable characters, and the blend of alien technology, shadowy organizations, hard-boiled sleuthing, and budding romance makes for a surprisingly compelling read.

A fun, fleshed-out fantasy with sympathetic main characters.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-69172-796-4

Page Count: 353

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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