Another delightful winner from an author on the rise.

READ REVIEW

SMITTEN BY THE BRIT

After an English professor’s fiance cheats on her, she accepts a summer teaching position in England and gravitates toward a sexy English nobleman, but as their affair heats up, the Anglophile finds herself in the midst of an Austen-worthy romantic drama.

Bonnie Blythe has been with her fiance, Gabe, “forever,” so she’s stunned when she finds him in bed with another woman. His betrayal opens the door to accepting a dream teaching assignment at Cambridge, though, and sends her into the arms of Theo, who's scheduled to be the best man at her best friend’s upcoming wedding. Though they start slow, there’s been an attraction since the second they met a year earlier, and acting on it has Bonnie wondering if her future lies with this sexy, intense duke, tucked in the Lake District cottage they both love. Theo's finances are precarious, however, a situation exacerbated by his overly developed sense of duty to his family and the many people who depend on them for their livelihoods. For once he wants to buck his obligations, because Bonnie makes him happy and life without her seems bleak, but his mother’s demand to find a rich bride dims his hopes for a happy-ever-after. The sophomore effort from Johnson may be even better than her exceptional debut (Getting Hot with the Scot, 2019), and her navigation of betrayal, heartbreak, noblesse oblige, family pressure, disappointment, and the healing power of love add up to another terrific read. Along with the snappy dialogue, sizzling emotional and sexual tension (with a couple of very hot sex scenes), and full-blooded characters, Johnson weaves in references to art, literature, music, and other cultural touchstones that add depth and authenticity to the tale.

Another delightful winner from an author on the rise.

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19305-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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