An immersive and satisfying addition to the category of Boston crime fiction.


From the Elder Darrow Mystery series , Vol. 4

Cass (Burton’s Solo, 2019, etc.) returns to his favorite bar owner and cop in this fourth installment of a detective series.

Things are changing around the old Esposito, the Boston dive that recovering alcoholic Elder Darrow has been dutifully attempting to turn into a reputable bar offering “jazz on the weekends.” Now “you could drink without getting into a fist fight,” Elder drolly brags, “and step outside to smoke without worrying about being mugged.” But there’s a new mob boss in the neighborhood—Donald Maldonado—who has sent one of his underlings around asking about Elder’s on-the-run ex-girlfriend, talented thief Kathleen Crawford. Elder has no idea where she is because Kathleen doesn’t want him to know. Under the name Nina, Kathleen is currently hiding out at the Boston Pre-Release Center. But while on work release at the paupers’ grave on Rinker Island, she accidentally discovers a corpse that shouldn’t be there: a man in an expensive suit with a bullet wound in his head. Elder’s friend homicide detective Dan Burton is called in to investigate the death (and recognizes Kathleen, still at the scene). The dead man turns out to be a local activist with enemies among the city’s rich and powerful, some of the same forces who are currently trying to bring the Olympics to Boston—and tear down half the city to prepare for it. Among the possible targets: the Esposito itself. Cass’ prose is wonderfully textured, evoking both the Boston weather and the fatalistic attitudes of the city’s denizens: “The sun was the color of weak lemonade in a washed-out blue sky, but at least the wind wasn’t blowing in off the water anymore.” The plot is quick and engrossing, and at the center of the crimes and detective work is a highly relatable story of a man who can’t decide whether to cling to the past or surrender to the future. Fans of the previous books in the series will appreciate this offering, but those new to the Esposito can also enjoy this self-contained narrative—and maybe even become regulars.

An immersive and satisfying addition to the category of Boston crime fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019


Page Count: -

Publisher: Encircle Publications

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2019

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A flabby, fervid melodrama of a high-strung Southern family from Conroy (The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline), whose penchant for overwriting once again obscures a genuine talent. Tom Wingo is an unemployed South Carolinian football coach whose internist wife is having an affair with a pompous cardiac man. When he hears that his fierce, beautiful twin sister Savannah, a well-known New York poet, has once again attempted suicide, he escapes his present emasculation by flying north to meet Savannah's comely psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Savannah, it turns out, is catatonic, and before the suicide attempt had completely assumed the identity of a dead friend—the implication being that she couldn't stand being a Wingo anymore. Susan (a shrink with a lot of time on her hands) says to Tom, "Will you stay in New York and tell me all you know?" and he does, for nearly 600 mostly-bloated pages of flashbacks depicting The Family Wingo of swampy Colleton County: a beautiful mother, a brutal shrimper father (the Great Santini alive and kicking), and Tom and Savannah's much-admired older brother, Luke. There are enough traumas here to fall an average-sized mental ward, but the biggie centers around Luke, who uses the skills learned as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam to fight a guerrilla war against the installation of a nuclear power plant in Colleton and is killed by the authorities. It's his death that precipitates the nervous breakdown that costs Tom his job, and Savannah, almost, her life. There may be a barely-glimpsed smaller novel buried in all this succotash (Tom's marriage and life as a football coach), but it's sadly overwhelmed by the book's clumsy central narrative device (flashback ad infinitum) and Conroy's pretentious prose style: ""There are no verdicts to childhood, only consequences, and the bright freight of memory. I speak now of the sun-struck, deeply lived-in days of my past.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1986

ISBN: 0553381547

Page Count: 686

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

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