Steady pace keeps this novel consistently riveting and often entertaining.

Winds

A NOVEL

From the Winds series , Vol. 2

In Anderson’s (Light, 2015, etc.) latest thriller, it’s up to a small group of people to stop an evil corporation from disrupting the balance between the spirit and material worlds.

When someone brutally murders Wisconsin tree farmer Ellen Groves, the Pentagon sends Lt. Col. Robert McMichaels to investigate out of suspicions that terrorists are targeting soldiers’ families. He meets up with Maj. Tom Groves and quickly learns that the Groves family, including sisters Diane and Nancy, believe something else entirely is afoot. They claim Ellen was one of the Guardians of the Watchtowers, controlling the flow of energy between the spiritual world and physical world. Meanwhile, Philip Ashur, CEO of XIIMI and master of the Black Arts, is plotting to kill all the Guardians, keeping a body part from each on ice to prevent their spirits from reaching the other side. Anderson’s novel triumphantly merges thriller elements with the supernatural: what seems like a typical murder investigation eventually pits the forces of good and evil against one another. The action scenes dabble in both. Ashur’s men kidnap McMichaels’ children, for example, leading to just one of the numerous gunfights. At the same time, Diane and Nancy, as well as others, like their aunts, are capable of magic. Diane transfers her spirit to a hawk for a particularly vicious attack entailing a bit of eye gouging. The story addresses an abundance of abstract notions, including reincarnation; for instance, Shelia Ryan, an attorney whom Ashur sends to purchase Ellen’s land, may have a change of heart once she remembers her past life from centuries ago in Egypt. Fortunately, the atypical concepts work well amid a genuine threat to the more familiar world: if Ashur succeeds at closing the spirit world, restless spirits in the physical realm will turn “vile, mean, and nasty.” Romantic interests develop perhaps a little too quickly, since they all seem predestined; Diane, who’s short with McMichaels at first, warms up to him immediately when realizing they were lovers in past lives. But Anderson rounds out his story with shocking deaths and a surprising ally for the Groves clan.

Steady pace keeps this novel consistently riveting and often entertaining.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-937491-16-4

Page Count: 558

Publisher: 2AM Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2015

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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