A colorful but overly complex origin story of thrills, kills, and strong wills.



A luxurious and lethal spa provides the setting for this debut thriller.

Most people wouldn’t accept an anonymous gift of a weeklong stay at an exclusive resort. But when former college professor and divorcée Charlotte “Charley” Anderson receives a calligraphed invitation to the famous Rancho Verde Spa in Santa Fe, she simply asks, “What time is check-in?” The hard-drinking New Yorker identifies herself as “new money.” A horrific accident 10 years ago scarred her physically as well as emotionally, but it also provided her with a multimillion-dollar settlement. However, her college fired her when it was revealed that she’d been having an affair with 19-year-old student Mark Bailey Elliot III. At the resort, Charley discovers that Mark’s late mother, Margaret, used to be a frequent visitor. She also finds out that Margaret and numerous other guests apparently became hooked on pills before committing suicide. Mark, who’s now married and living in Dallas, hasn’t seen Charley in a decade, but he still considers her the smartest woman he ever knew. He proves to be the financier of her spa stay, and he asks her to find out inside information about the place, which he thinks is linked to his mother’s death. PI Nash Pope, who speaks Spanish and some Navajo, also helps. Divorced Charley’s heart beats faster at the thought of being with Mark again, but a kidnapping alters those plans. The author gets points for delivering a flawed, feisty protagonist in this series starter: “Charley carried her scars like some people carry a .45—hidden, only brought out when needed.” Readers will also find the multicultural cast of characters to be welcome, and Long’s descriptions are vivid, detailing such things as a New Mexican landscape (“The soft colors of the sage and sand were backlit by the brightness of the red rock formations and the incredible blue of the sky”) and a pair of designer stilettos. The plot, however, is distractingly convoluted; even Charley marvels at everything she’s gone through.

A colorful but overly complex origin story of thrills, kills, and strong wills.

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9991810-8-9

Page Count: 218

Publisher: Yellow City Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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