A well-constructed, if rather straightforward, modern adaptation of the Book of Job.

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THE FAITHFUL ONE

A NOVEL

Chynoweth (The Runaway Prophet, 2016, etc.) retells the biblical story of Job in this contemporary novel.

Seth Jacobs has everything a man could want: a 40-room mansion on 200 acres, a national chain of celebrated waterfront restaurants, wealth, influence, a beautiful wife, and accomplished and loving children. During a delay on the Boston subway, Seth considers how lucky he is to lead the life he does. Unfortunately, that life comes crashing down the moment Seth gets back above ground. He walks into his Boston restaurant to discover that a severe case of food poisoning has broken out among his customers: “He looked into the chandeliered main dining room and saw a hundred or so well-dressed men and women in different states of sickness, their faces contorted in varying degrees of pain.” One of the afflicted is a U.S. senator, who ends up dying as a result. Later that same night, his sons are involved in a car accident that leaves one in a coma and the other charged with driving while intoxicated. One by one, the pillars of support and fortune in Seth’s life begin to topple: he loses his family, his business, and even his health. Like the protagonist in the Book of Job, Seth sees his life utterly destroyed. The only question that remains is whether his faith has been demolished as well. Chynoweth constructs—and then deconstructs —Seth’s life with an eye for detail and an inventive sense of how one tragedy can beget the next. While Seth’s existence is depicted as almost cartoonishly lavish at the beginning (and the protagonist portrayed as cloyingly virtuous), once his trials begin the reader cannot help but feel sympathy for him. The book is a fairly faithful expansion of the familiar story of Job, and so things unfold in a more or less predictable fashion. Those looking for twists and turns may become a bit bored with the archetypical plot, but for readers content with an exploration of what a contemporary Job might look like, Chynoweth’s tale should more than satisfy.

A well-constructed, if rather straightforward, modern adaptation of the Book of Job.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68350-291-3

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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