Despite her best efforts, Kane doesn’t give her smart, sorely beset heroine anything like the personal stake in this case...

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SEEDS OF DOUBT

A sophomore case for dyslexic Denver attorney Jackie Flowers finds her equally outraged and baffled but less personally engaged.

Rachel Boyd has just finished doing 30 years for killing Freddie Gant in Vivian, Colorado, when he was 4 and she was only 12. No sooner is she released and gone to stay with her banker brother Christopher in Denver than another child disappears: Chris’s gardener’s son Benjamin Sparks, 6, who promptly turns up as dead as little Freddie. Things look so bad for Rachel, an ex-con who showed no remorse for her earlier crime or even admitted she’d done it, that Chris insists Jackie defend her and shoves a pot of money at her to get her interest. And she’ll need all the incentive she can get because everyone around her, from her investigator to her next-door neighbors to her ex-lover, attorney Dennis Ross, is agog that she’s agreed to take Rachel in as a houseguest when she’s released on her own recognizance because they all assume Rachel’s guilty. And why shouldn’t they? The postmortem exam shows that Ben was wounded in a pattern eerily similar to Freddie, presumably with a weapon that hasn’t been found for 30 years. Both Lee Simms, the tabloid journalist who rode the earlier case to brief glory, and Trina Maune, Rachel’s grade-school cohort and confidante, who make the trip from Vivian to Denver, and from past to present, ostensibly to help Jackie defend Rachel turn out to have agendas of their own. And of course she has to fight tooth and nail for every inch of pretrial courtroom turf.

Despite her best efforts, Kane doesn’t give her smart, sorely beset heroine anything like the personal stake in this case that she had in her debut (Extreme Indifference, 2003). Instead, Jackie seems intent on building a client base consisting entirely of the most despised people in Colorado.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2004

ISBN: 0-7432-4557-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2004

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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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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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