An impressive novel that gives fans of legal thrillers a rising star to follow.



From the Jack Hart Mysteries series , Vol. 1

In debut novelist Reeve’s (Starting with a Quart of Tomatoes, 2009) Seattle-set series starter, a young legal eagle finds himself tangled in a web of corporate intrigue and murder.

Twenty-nine-year-old Harmony Piper—an associate attorney at law firm Piper Whatcom & Hardcastle and the granddaughter of one of the named partners—is missing. She’s always been hardworking, extraordinarily reliable, and well-liked. Indeed, fellow associate Jack Hart, who’s a year younger than Harmony, is smitten with her. He becomes concerned when he notices a tiny spot of blood on the carpet of her office. Security tapes reveal that she left the building, crying, via the freight elevator at 2:11 a.m. the previous night. The police aren’t impressed with his investigations—until the next day, when Detective Anthony and Officer Oden arrive to report that the body of Harmony’s father, Humphrey Piper II, has been found stuffed into his own suitcase, which had been offloaded from a plane in Fukuoka, Japan. “It was a big bag,” notes Anthony. “And he was a little man.” Humphrey had established, and was running, the firm’s Asian division. In between writing legal briefs and interrogatories, Jack becomes immersed in the ensuing investigation, eventually putting his own life at risk. But as the body count increases, Harmony is nowhere to be found. Reeve is an attorney herself, and she packs this page-turner with enough legal maneuverings and insider jargon to keep most genre readers satisfied. She mixes in a healthy amount of Jack’s backstory as she unspools the complicated mystery plot, which occasionally stretches the limits of credulity; however, she keeps things running along at a consistent pace. Jack narrates the tale, and readers learn a lot about him early on when he tells the story of why he took in his “starving, mistrustful, half-psychotic” dog, Betsy, who’d followed him home: “I knew what it was like to be beaten up and abandoned.” His relationship with the quirky Betsy adds levity to the proceedings and provides some of the book’s most tender scenes.

An impressive novel that gives fans of legal thrillers a rising star to follow.

Pub Date: April 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-980960-26-3

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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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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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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