Doughtie has tendered an understated, sophisticated, revealing legal entertainment that leaves the reader wanting more.

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ALL RISE

Retired jurist Doughtie presents a twisty legal drama of nasty doings in northern Florida.

Judge Alva “AC” Cason sits on the bench of Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit, hearing and passing judgment on the miseries spilled out in the family division. Much of the business is sad but tedious: “He thought he could do this job in his sleep, but remembered he sometimes did just that, which was generally frowned upon.” Doughtie is having fun here, for AC is drawn as a warm and decent man, learned, confident and ethical, informed but not flouting. He is a rich character, as are the other principals, whose complexity gives the story its pleasing misdirection and color. Doughtie ably handles a number of strands—an increasingly ugly child dependency case, a crooked judge, rich folks ruining everything, a con man overstepping his moral boundaries and a surging romantic relationship between AC and caseworker—as he authentically engages the legal system. It is clear that Doughtie loves the legal profession, though he is not above teasing it: “Judge AC tried to exhibit the concerned expression of a person with hemorrhoids”; he revels in explaining courtroom minutiae with expository narrative that only feels forced when he takes it outside judicial business, as when detailing the con man’s tricks. Equal to, if not transcending, the legal aspects of the story is the love affair of AC and Vicky, sweetly and very physically presented, yet, thankfully, unlike the law, not minutely. Indeed, Doughtie keeps the tale quite everyday, avoiding the theatrical and extravagant, but allowing for him to give time pondering such elements as the Florida landscape that he loves as much as the law: turkey oaks and wiregrass, the rosemary bushes and tumbledown farms, the dozy inland river ways and the pencil factory that ate all the cedars. The final pages offer a dumbfounding surprise, and an emotional cliffhanger.

Doughtie has tendered an understated, sophisticated, revealing legal entertainment that leaves the reader wanting more.

Pub Date: May 14, 2007

ISBN: 978-1425103590

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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

GHOSTED

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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THE STARLESS SEA

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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