Madcap nights of love among the lycanthropes.

NAKED BRUNCH

Hayter sets aside her Robin Hudson female detective series (The Chelsea Girls Murders, 2000) to profile one Annie Engel: a mousy secretary by day, a werewolf by night.

Fading newsman Sam Deverell lucks into a story about a Mad Dog Murder and a victim attacked during a full moon outside the Carnivore restaurant in the Meat-Packing District; he’s the only reporter to grab a video of the body. Werewolf Jim, a ghostwriter by day, keeps his lycanthropic changes at bay by taking doses of ketamine with an intravenous drip and sleeping during the full moon, but he’s charged up by the Meat-Packing District murder and, going off ketamine, feels euphoric. Legal secretary Annie, a vegetarian who works for Synergy Enterprises Group, wakes up with blood on her chest, meat lodged in her teeth, nausea, a meatlike lump in her vomit, her purse lost, and her window broken in (by herself). Annie also finds all her senses sharpened at work. She can hear far-off conversations beyond the normal range of hearing, and she’s developing soft blond fur all over her body. Then there’s rudeness, distemper, lack of table manners. She finds herself four-footed and scampering over rooftops. Annie the werewolf tears out throats, then leaves her dead victims, seemingly without having refreshed herself on their blood or bodies—although she does find herself feeling much better by day, despite not quite remembering what she did the night before. According to Dr. Marco Potenza, who runs a clinic for fee-paying werewolves who want to be sedated during dangerous periods of the full moon (and is himself a werewolf), Annie suffers from Lyconthropic Metamorphic Disorder. When two Syn-GEN employees are murdered by the Mad Dog Killer, Annie wonders whether she can ever have a normal life again. The climax, Operation Harvest Moon, finds wolves scampering over many roofs in a wild chase.

Madcap nights of love among the lycanthropes.

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-4000-4743-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Three Rivers/Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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