An auspicious series starter that blends murder, bad medicine, and screwed-up family dynamics.

Two Dead and Counting

From the Underdog Detective series

In Schwartz’s debut mystery, an amiable but flawed private investigator finds himself not only in the midst of two complex cases, but also dealing with a midlife crisis.

Former Mississippi policeman Jack Kendall is pushing 40, and all he has to show for his life is a struggling PI practice that specializes in cheating spouses, a dilapidated house, and a 10-year-old Toyota Camry. He’s never found Miss Right because he always pushes women away when the relationships become serious. As he explains to his best friend, Daniel Steinberg: “You know how I get. When she started talking about moving in together, I sent her packing.” Jack’s latest client is Teresa Lindsay, who suspects that her physician husband, Alan, is having an affair. Jack takes on more responsibilities after Daniel dies during elective surgery and an aggressive malpractice attorney, Cedric Johnson, urges Daniel’s widow, Christine, to sue the anesthesiologist. Jack was already planning to investigate Daniel’s death, but he’s also suspicious of the gold-digging lawyer: “No matter how he looked at it, it just seemed sleazy to approach Christine so soon after losing Daniel.” Neither case is as simple as it seems, as two illegitimate children, a spurned nephew, a dead child, and unethical medical experiments soon come into play. Schwartz skillfully weaves a complex mystery that keeps Jack and his helpers, including police captain Kevin Thomas; Johnson’s associate, Joshua “Josh” Royce; and Josh’s former assistant Stacy Young, in the dark for much of the story. He methodically doles out clues, however, so that readers will be likely to reach the solution before the professional and amateur detectives do. Schwartz fleshes out his characters well, making them believable and, in most cases, likable. Even Jack becomes a more evolved human by novel’s end, as he figures out what’s missing in his life. It all adds up to a fast-paced, challenging thriller that shows promise for future volumes of a planned series.

An auspicious series starter that blends murder, bad medicine, and screwed-up family dynamics.

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9970965-0-7

Page Count: 398

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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