A murder mystery that sneaks up, takes hold and refuses to let go.

ENOUGH ROPE

In Doss’ debut thriller, a lawyer and a medical investigator both suspect that an accidental death is actually the work of a calculating, meticulous killer.

When attorney Elliot Carter’s body is found hanging from a tree, police want to write off the death as autoerotic asphyxiation. But fellow lawyer Tom Halloran believes that his friend was murdered, and though physical evidence doesn’t support his theory, Hollis Joplin of the medical examiner’s office also has his doubts—especially after learning that Elliot’s estranged ex-wife–to-be, Anne, had hired a PI who’s suddenly missing. As Halloran and Joplin each begin an investigation into the mysterious death, Doss’ twisty, curvy plot dishes out the goods: scandalous secrets, including blackmail and extramarital affairs; another death or two that appear to be suicides; and a possible connection to a 20-year-old kidnapping case. The lengthy list of suspects is impressive, and readers won’t find it easy pinpointing the killer’s identity, since no single piece of evidence condemns or clears anyone. The clues, such as Elliot’s visit to a urologist prior to his death, merely push distrust from one person to the next. What makes Halloran and Joplin a fascinating duo is that they aren’t really a duo; they investigate the death—and, before long, deaths—separately. Though the men occasionally swap information, the novel is more often two perspectives of the same case: former cop Joplin, the professional, and Halloran, the novice, though the fact that he’s the executor of Elliot’s will gives him good reason to ask questions. Doss avoids repetition—readers don’t have to watch Halloran and Joplin uncover the same evidence—while providing plenty of drama for the men, since each has a personal link to someone who falls under suspicion. A love triangle with Joplin, resident pathologist Carrie and lady’s man/pathologist Jack can be distracting when it sidetracks Joplin, who’s clearly distraught that Carrie is attracted to Jack, from his investigation, but disrupting the thought process of a man with eidetic memory does add spice to the main storyline.

A murder mystery that sneaks up, takes hold and refuses to let go.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989093408

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Mayfair Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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

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