An uncanny, appealing blend of suspense, irony, tragedy, and how-to for lock-picking, burgling, and ankle monitor removal.

OTHER PEOPLE'S PETS

When helping dad means quitting school and committing felonies.

“La La has crime in her blood as surely as the Flying Wallendas have acrobatics, and the Kennedys, politics. Maybe it’s pointless to resist it. Especially now that Zev needs her.” The protagonist of Maizes’ first novel—after We Love Anderson Cooper (2019), a collection of short stories—is the daughter of an ill-starred family. Her mother, Elissa, who never wanted children and preferred animals to people, disappeared without a trace after a nearly fatal parenting error went large in the media. Her father, Zev, left on his own with 8-year-old La La, withdrew her from school and made her his partner in a combination locksmith/burglary operation. Like her mother, La La is passionate about animals, but with her, it goes a step farther. She is an animal empath who can actually read animals’ minds and feel their aches and pains. Both parents’ legacies play a positive role in early adulthood—La La’s a star in veterinary school, and she meets her fiance, Clem, when she helps him break into his locked chiropractic office. But when Zev leaves his phone at the scene of a bungled job, the darker side of the family history takes hold: “It’s Sunday, a good day to rob churchgoing families.” Rationalizing her crimes by tending to the pets she finds locked inside the homes she breaks into, La La sacrifices almost everything in the attempt to raise legal fees for her father—and what’s left gets tossed into the flames of the torch she carries for her missing mother. While its quirky combination of fictional elements and adroit, deadpan writing give the novel a wryly comedic atmosphere, La La’s story is melancholy and moving.

An uncanny, appealing blend of suspense, irony, tragedy, and how-to for lock-picking, burgling, and ankle monitor removal.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30413-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

THE SUMMER PLACE

When a family convenes at their Cape Cod summer home for a wedding, old secrets threaten to ruin everything.

Sarah Danhauser is shocked when her beloved stepdaughter announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Gabe. After all, Ruby’s only 22, and Sarah suspects that their relationship was fast-tracked because of the time they spent together in quarantine during the early days of the pandemic. Sarah’s mother, Veronica, is thrilled, mostly because she longs to have the entire family together for one last celebration before she puts their Cape Cod summer house on the market. But getting to Ruby and Gabe’s wedding might prove more difficult than anyone thought. Sarah can’t figure out why her husband, Eli, has been so distant and distracted ever since Ruby moved home to Park Slope (bringing Gabe with her), and she's afraid he may be having an affair. Veronica is afraid that a long-ago dalliance might come back to bite her. Ruby isn’t sure how to process the conflicting feelings she’s having about her upcoming nuptials. And Sam, Sarah’s twin brother, is a recent widower who’s dealing with some pretty big romantic confusion. As the entire extended family, along with Gabe’s relatives, converges on the summer house, secrets become impossible to keep, and it quickly becomes clear that this might not be the perfect gathering Veronica was envisioning. If they make it to the wedding, will their family survive the aftermath? Weiner creates a story with all the misunderstandings and miscommunications of a screwball comedy or a Shakespeare play (think A Midsummer Night’s Dream). But the surprising, over-the-top actions of the characters are grounded by a realistic and moving look at grief and ambition (particularly for Sarah and Veronica, both of whom give up demanding creative careers early on). At times the flashbacks can slow down the story, but even when the characters are lying, cheating, and hiding from each other, they still seem like a real and loving family.

An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3357-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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