An engaging, if occasionally uneven, thriller that will satisfy Burson’s fans and likely entice new readers.

Prophecy

In Burson’s (A Partner’s Hidden Life, 2011) latest thriller, wisecracking FBI agent Sean Murphy is back to foil a plot to tear apart the Vatican and the American Roman Catholic Church.

When a new pope is named, Catholics worldwide are concerned that the name he chooses, Peter II, fulfills St. Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes—and might mean the beginning of the apocalypse. Special Agent Murphy has his doubts. He’s just been assigned to a new counterterrorism unit tasked with identifying the people behind the growing religious unrest in the United States. Murphy’s local parish priest, Lukas Shafer, becomes affiliated with a religious group called The Movement, formed as an alternative to the conservative, politically mired Catholic Church. Murphy investigates the trail of money to and from The Movement to determine who’s pulling its strings and its ultimate aim. But when several fellow agents are murdered, and Murphy and his family become the targets of violence and espionage, things get frighteningly personal. Murphy is a thoroughly likable character, thanks in part to his proclivity for corny humor. Burson’s deft action sequences are well-timed, but his explorations into the history and politics of the church noticeably slow the pace, as do regular interludes in which Murphy deliberates about the case. The easy, realistic prose is occasionally marred by awkward or confusing sentences, as when Murphy, pondering death at a fellow agent’s funeral, thinks, “All that you were was over just like putting one’s hand in a bucket of water and removing it.” Grammatical and punctuation errors abound but generally don’t affect the novel’s smooth flow. Apart from these minor hindrances, Burson provides his readers with a lively, divertingly suspenseful yarn.

An engaging, if occasionally uneven, thriller that will satisfy Burson’s fans and likely entice new readers. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 351

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2013

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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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

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