Rich girl and poor boy forge a believable relationship.

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SECRETS

A young woman tries to break away from her mean-girl past and controlling father in this novel.

Diana Rainville first appeared to readers as a minor character in Caviglia’s (Masks, 2011) previous book, best friend of Rebecca Jacobs, who finally confronted her about her selfish, boyfriend-stealing ways. Now 22, Diana has no friends left, although she’s lately begun to develop a conscience and a wish to gain independence from her wealthy, domineering father, Mathieu, 52. Freedom, though, proves difficult when Mat sabotages her job search, ensuring she’ll have to live at home and work for him at Montreal’s Rainville Digital Media. While shooting video footage for a client, a sports store expanding its inventory to skateboards, Diana runs into high school acquaintance Ron Pearl, once known for his piercings. Now he sports only one and has become taller and more manly. When not skateboarding, Ron drives a taxi to support his mother, who is dying of cancer in a hospice. Despite their differences, he and Diana are cautiously attracted to each other, and they have parental abandonment in common: Ron’s father took off when his mother was diagnosed, and Diana’s mother left when she was small. (Arianne Deschamps has actually been writing letters to her daughter for years, a secret shared between Mat and Diana’s older brother.) When Ron seemingly leaves Diana in the lurch, she’s tempted to flee to her father, who hates the guy, for support—but it’s time for family secrets to come to light. Caviglia creates three-dimensional characters who are realistically mixed up, and the reasons for parental desertion are complex. But not all of the book’s psychology is well-observed; hoarding—Ron’s affliction—is a serious disorder, not one easily solved with a good shot of determination. The tale is well-paced, but the plot copycats Masks, which also features a young woman whose chief conflict is with an angry, dictating father, who also tries to make her date the man of his choice. Since the characters don’t come from cultural backgrounds that would help explain this pattern, the conflict is a little unconvincing, and doubly so for this second outing.

Rich girl and poor boy forge a believable relationship. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 176

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2017

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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