A remarkable whodunit that’s as sharp as it is concise.

TIED TO DECEIT

In Brar’s debut mystery, a detective uncovers secrets surrounding a murder in 1970s India.

Gayatri Bhardwaj had suspected her doctor husband, Rajinder, of infidelity even before she received an anonymous letter about an upcoming adulterous encounter. She walks in on him and his lover, Devika Singh, who works at Lifeline Hospital with Rajinder, and Devika only exacerbates the situation by claiming that she’s pregnant with Rajinder’s child. Devika later turns up dead from strangulation, and Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma’s investigation quickly leads him to the Bhardwajs. But the murder case is far from that simple. Others on the hospital staff had blamed Devika for a patient’s recent death—she’d contacted police regarding the girl’s attempted suicide, which delayed her treatment. Sharma soon learns that Devika had other enemies with motives to kill her. As he delves further into Devika’s life, it only deepens the mystery and reveals additional suspects, including her estranged spouse, Virat Singh Chaudhry. Sharma rightly surmises that quite a few interviewees are hiding something, and he receives a note that seems to point him toward a killer—or possibly a scapegoat. Brar enhances her taut murder mystery with an engaging setting that effectively incorporates the local culture, as when someone uses a respectful honorific, “Sahib,” for a character they may not respect at all. The narrative is flavored throughout with occasional Hindi, with plenty of context for readers who are unfamiliar with the language. The author reveals her characters to be delightfully complex; for instance, Devika is described as “good, but not always, and certainly not to everyone.” The mystery, too, is involving; interrogations make up the bulk of the story, and although readers know a bit more than Sharma does, they’ll still find identifying the culprit to be a challenge. The smart, believable denouement will have readers looking forward to Brar’s next endeavor.

A remarkable whodunit that’s as sharp as it is concise.

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77515-803-5

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Penguide Books

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more