An amusing offering, full of memorable characters.


Chasing Squirrels in Retrospect

Lawless delivers a debut novel about a 20-something fundraising professional dealing with upheavals in her personal life.

Georgia Leonard, who lives in the English village of Lymm, is fairly satisfied with her life: her fundraising job is generally pleasant, despite the occasional nut cases she encounters, such as an office manager who “wanted to know what I was up to at all times.” She’s genuinely fond of her family, although her parents and brother are on the other side of the Atlantic and her sister’s a few hours away. She also has devoted friends; an adored, if incontinent, elderly dog; and a wacky, elderly great-aunt, Auntie D. The only real sticking point is her lack of a love life since she caught her ex-boyfriend, Peter, cheating on her. The only man with whom she feels a real connection is Blake, the boyfriend of her friend’s cousin, whom she sees every few years. Loathe to be the “other woman,” she keeps her encounters with Blake deliberately lighthearted and innocuous, despite their strong mutual attraction. When she notices some curious inconsistencies in her great-aunt’s finances, she learns more about bank fraud than she ever believed possible. A heartbreaking loss, soon followed by a less-shocking misfortune, compels Georgia to reevaluate her life and to seek positive changes. This novel is apparently inspired by the chick-lit genre, but it’s heavier on humor and lighter on drinking and promiscuity. Georgia’s story, told in the first person, is almost always humorous, except when circumstances turn heartbreaking. Interspersed throughout the story are the responses that she receives from a dating website, showing the ludicrous inappropriateness of most of her potential matches. Her real affection for her Auntie D is heartwarming and makes her character even more likable. The cliffhanger ending—hopefully a setup for a sequel—will leave readers wondering whether Georgia will do the honorable thing, as she often does at other times.

An amusing offering, full of memorable characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5027-5364-9

Page Count: 324

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2016

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.


An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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