A riveting novel ripped from the headlines of the Wall Street Journal.

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FORTUNE HUNTERS

Boston’s rising-star financial detectives McBain and O’Daniel uncover a scheme of fraud and murder in Masters’ debut mystery.

Masters’ story takes place in Boston’s downtown, near the financial district and in the wealthy suburb of Brookline soon after the financial meltdown and Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Boozy McBain, a Wall Street trader–turned-detective, and his partner, Boston O’Daniel, a fiery redhead and the police captain’s daughter, reveal a talent for financial fraud investigation and for reaching large settlements with money managers who’ve scammed their clients. While celebrating his latest victory at his favorite watering hole, McBain meets Christina Baker, a 30-something raven-haired beauty with a sharp wit and even sharper tongue. His interests are purely social, but Baker has just lost her inheritance and her parents in an apparent double suicide; she wants her money back and justice. With mixed motives and strong reservations, McBain agrees to investigate the case on his own time. When O’Daniel discovers her partner’s off-the-books activities, she’s intrigued by the case and joins the paper chase. Although McBain and O’Daniel can’t find proof of criminal activity, their client presses, certain that her parents’ financial adviser, Roche is somehow involved. As the investigation turns up new leads, ties are made between her parents’ physician, Lehmann, and Roche. Pulling on the loose threads, the detectives begin to unravel an elaborate scheme of fraud, murder and personal betrayal in which greed, passion and family secrets hide behind proper appearances. Masters’ well-written story weaves together exquisite plot twists, believable characters and realistic dialogue, resulting in a story that flies by in vividly descriptive writing: In McBain’s favorite bar, “The room hummed softly to the engine of glass, ice, and conversation,” and in an exchange between Baker and McBain: “You do like your martinis….Why do you drink so many?” “They’re what some of us have instead of children.” A novel this good isn’t beginner’s luck; indeed, Masters’ consummate writing skills, his work on Wall Street and his experience living in Boston drive a most authentic storyline.

A riveting novel ripped from the headlines of the Wall Street Journal.

Pub Date: March 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615956589

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Lost Haven Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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