An assassin story that delivers action while shrewdly examining the consequences.

Furies Unleashed

In Elder’s (Daughters of the World, 2014, etc.) thriller, sex-trafficking mobsters and U.S. authorities threaten a secret group that specializes in administering justice for violated women.

Sandra Neuermann is raped and narrowly escapes her assailants, who likely would have killed her. Cops apprehend the two men, but the arrest is thrown out on a technicality. This makes Neuermann a perfect recruit for Nemesis, a covert organization (of mostly women) that helps rape victims and targets those attackers who’ve escaped punishment. Neuermann trains as a Fury, a field operative, going after and sometimes killing rapists as well as sex traffickers, like an Albanian Mafia family in New York. However, Nemesis’ full-on assault against said family may be drawing too much attention from both gangsters and the alphabet soup of U.S. agencies, who’ve noticed that a lot of baddies have been disappearing. Elder’s thriller highlights a group of female agents without turning the idea into a gimmick. The women are undeniably formidable with guns, fisticuffs, or at a computer: Bridget O’Rourke “tapped her keyboard and the engines in the Mercedes and the Range Rover died. The doors locked, and the occupants heard a loud pop. It was the last thing they heard as the canisters released a knockout gas.” The villains are a largely rotten bunch, seemingly deserving of their fate at the business end of a Sig or sniper rifle. Yet Elder deepens his story by addressing the inevitable fallout: one Fury in particular is devastated when she has to kill an innocent bystander simply because he could have identified her later. Nemesis Director Jeanne Mooth, too, prides herself on the organization’s hovering under the radar—something that’s increasingly difficult to accomplish when it’s abundantly clear to all interested parties that someone is specifically targeting the Albanian mob’s brothels. Neuermann is a well-established protagonist who starts a relationship with handsome, kindhearted teacher Daniel, which may explain her gradual aversion to killing and preference for less-personal strikes against sex-trafficking groups. Unfortunately, other Furies don’t receive as much characterization. Many are relegated to Nemesis reports; Jane and Arlene, for example, first appear as names in their filed paperwork, merely to introduce (and close) the latest rapist’s case. The ending may shock more than a few readers, but it definitely packs a dramatic punch.

An assassin story that delivers action while shrewdly examining the consequences.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2016

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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