A lusty, tragic tale for readers who are willing to work for its satisfying moments of connection.

Jagged Edge of the Sky

Coomer’s (Dove Creek, 2010, etc.) second novel tracks the impact of an Australian lothario on two families, one Australian and the other American.

The story begins in the Australian Outback in the 1950s, where Edmonds Tuor and his wife, Cherise Marie, operate a caravan camp. Next door are Russell and Jeanne McMurtrey, Americans who’ve brought their two children to caravan through Australia on an educational journey. With the McCurtreys is a local hire, Rich Hand, a “road assistant and tour guide.” Rich has “Hair black like an oyster” and “Cobalt eyes,” which is evidently an irresistible combination, as both Cherise and Jeanne are separately swept away by his animal magnetism. The affairs result in both women getting pregnant. The McMurtreys return home to San Diego, where their new son, Dale, is born, and Cherise gives birth to Martin, her third child, in Australia. Martin eventually moves to America, and the second half of the novel follows him to Idaho, where he’s an on-again, off-again mental health patient. Much like his older brother, Piotr, who has “night terrors,” Martin suffers from “seizures” and hallucinations, which are depicted in harrowing detail. Coomer has woven an intriguing, complicated tale filled with so many characters that readers will need a score card to keep them all straight. Almost everyone has ties to everyone else in one way or another, in locations from Australia to America and through the decades of the second half of the 20th century. A few more signposts would have been useful; instead, readers will have to ferret out the revolving time frames from scant clues. Although the narrative is heavily character-driven, it’s also defined by its attention to local vernacular, its vivid imagery of the unforgivingly arid Outback, and its focus on the challenges faced by a unique assortment of people who have chosen to call it home. Overall, it’s a frustrating yet engrossing read that leaves readers pondering where the story might go next.

A lusty, tragic tale for readers who are willing to work for its satisfying moments of connection. 

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945419-02-7

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Fawkes Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet