A slight variation on the whodunit—a whomightdoit—but with all the trimmings of a satisfyingly complex murder mystery.

THE CASE FOR KILLING

In Fritze’s debut legal thriller, the undiplomatic actions of an antitrust lawyer in Toronto may result in murder—namely his own.

Someone wants to see attorney Peter Bradley dead. Cryptic journal entries, revealed only to the reader, detail an unknown party’s animosity for Bradley, but there’s certainly no shortage of people with motives for murder. Walter, a member of Bradley’s antitrust group at his firm, keeps getting passed over for partnership; Bradley’s wife, Amy, is on a short financial leash; and his brother-in-law, Reggie, a struggling musician, doesn’t appreciate how his sister is being treated. But Bradley has problems of a different sort: Managing partners have pushed Tony, whom Bradley hates, to be his successor as the group’s chair; Bradley’s uncovered discrepancies in his bank account; and he learns that Amy is frequenting Maximus, a swingers club. If Bradley has any hope of overcoming his odds, he’ll have to straighten quite a few things out—as long as someone doesn’t straighten him out first. This mystery doesn’t let up; the identity of the journal writer is neither revealed early nor blatantly obvious. In fact, the potential murderer seems of sound mind, debating both the legal and psychological ramifications of killing Bradley. It’s Bradley who’s off-kilter, obsessively watching his wife, who openly flirts with his colleagues, and eventually concocting a plan that’s just as dangerous as the diarist’s but much more methodical. Fritze’s strongest scenes aren’t ones of violence (though there are several of those) but manipulation: Bradley meets with Tony and fakes elation about the attorney joining the firm; Amy pretends to dote on her husband so that he’ll log onto his bank’s website, giving her a chance to learn his password. A school of red herrings is expected to accompany a cast this large, but the author successfully wraps up a good number of them. He further develops the lead character with a full back story: His first wife died, and he had an abusive, alcoholic father.

A slight variation on the whodunit—a whomightdoit—but with all the trimmings of a satisfyingly complex murder mystery.

Pub Date: March 24, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more