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EXCHANGE OF FIRE

AN SBG NOVEL

Exhilarating and suspenseful, this novel is hard to put down and sure to please.

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In DePaul’s thriller, a former assassin intends to leave everything behind—until she meets the man of her dreams.

Sandra Walsh was a highly skilled sniper for the mercenary agency SweetBriar Group until one fatal day changed everything. She and her team were supposed to save a group of victims from sex slavery, but in one wrong move, Sandra accidentally shot a young girl. There’s no way she can continue after that, so she faked her death and left everything behind (“A dead operative who assassinates a victim doesn’t get a home. She gets a life on the run. She had to squash the urge to give her conscience the finger”). Her team of Talon, Romeo, Cappy, and Magician are like family, but she has no choice. She begins a new life as an operations manager at the Gradwick Adventure Center, an arcade and games facility in Ridge Creek, North Carolina, and for a while everything seems to be all right. Her boss is Casper Grady, a handsome and muscular former Marine who now spends his time overseeing a safe place for families to enjoy some entertainment. Sparks fly, and there’s a definite romantic and physical tension between Sandra and Grady, but she can’t risk getting close to anyone. Unfortunately, her past catches up to her and she has to go on the run; Carlos, the head of the cartel responsible for the sex slavery Sandra was trying to stop, is seething to get revenge against the sniper who put a huge dent in his operation. Another threat is Victor, the head of SBG, who wants to take Sandra out now that she’s gone rogue and threatened the whole agency. Grady refuses to leave her unprotected and joins her, leaving his own world behind. The author has crafted an excellent suspense thriller, with many unpredictable twists and turns, and created great antagonists in Victor and Carlos, keeping the stakes high. Sandra proves herself to be a lethal adversary as well as a relatable woman who wants romance with her handsome boss. Grady is initially difficult to find appealing, but he eventually proves himself to be a worthy partner to her. Overall, this is a fun and valuable addition to any thriller fan’s bookshelf.

Exhilarating and suspenseful, this novel is hard to put down and sure to please.

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 978-1959324010

Page Count: 504

Publisher: Northfair Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2023

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MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

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Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE SILENT PATIENT

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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