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THE GIRL IN THE ATTIC

From the The Eddie Winston Series series , Vol. 1

An unpredictable but overwrought thriller.

In this crime novel, the police ineptly attempt to track down an abducted woman while she struggles to escape from her captors.

Eddie Winston, the book’s protagonist, has achieved financial success but is still traumatized by the disappearance of his beloved girlfriend, Holly Austin. After three years with no trace of her, Winston has spiraled into abject loneliness and depression. His only companions are his intuitive dog, Bobo, and a constant supply of alcohol. Out drinking one night, he senses his romantic life may be taking a positive turn when he hooks up with Lori Pritchet, a much younger acquaintance. But after a few happy hours together, Lori leaves his house to retrieve her car and vanishes. Already suspected of having some involvement in Holly’s disappearance, Winston is immediately considered a person of interest when Lori goes missing. Winston’s good looks and charm predispose some to think the worst of him, particularly envious men. Meanwhile, Lori’s abductors are torturing her in the eponymous attic. Police detectives and partners Mike Johnson and Amy Foster are split over the case. Johnson believes in Winston’s guilt and stops at nothing to implicate and frame him. Foster includes Winston in the search, hoping to develop a personal relationship with him. Back in the attic, indefatigable Lori tries to MacGyver her way to freedom. With a slat broken off the bed frame, she smashes a mirror to create sharp weapons: “Now if I only had a scabbard to house this dagger looking thing, I could stash it on my person. Of course, I had to wear a blouse that doesn’t even cover my belly button.” In Wilson’s hodgepodge of a story, the N-word is tossed around by White men, misogynist descriptions are frequent and unwelcome, and several women are ruled by their libidos. Some women lose their abilities to reason around handsome Winston. When Foster contrives a reason to sleep at Winston’s house, she sighs: “Oh, and Eddie, for the record, I’m not wearing any panties either.” But the conclusion of this high-stakes tale comes with a surprising twist, illustrating a vivid imagination at work.

An unpredictable but overwrought thriller.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9981651-0-3

Page Count: 437

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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IDENTITY

Roberts revisits a favorite theme: The power of community can defeat a great evil.

After escaping from a serial killer, a woman tries to reclaim her life.

After a childhood as an Army brat, Morgan Albright is determined to put down roots. She bought a small house in the perfect neighborhood outside of Baltimore, living with a friend and working two jobs to make ends meet. Morgan’s life is happy and fulfilling, and she is making progress on her financial and career goals. Her perfect world is shattered when someone breaks into her home and murders her roommate. At first, the police assume it was a random act of violence, but after discovering the killer stole Morgan’s identity and her entire savings, they realize the crime fits the profile of a serial killer named Gavin Rozwell. The police inform Morgan that her roommate was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time; she was the real intended target. Morgan’s grief, coupled with the financial devastation from the identity theft, leaves her no choice but to return home to Vermont to live with her mother and grandmother. Morgan reconnects with her family and rebuilds her life, including landing the perfect job and falling in love. The police and FBI pursue Gavin, who continues to stalk and kill women, each time leaving a reminder at the crime scene that shows he’s fixated on Morgan as the one who got away. Roberts shows Gavin’s slow descent into obsession and madness as the inverse of Morgan’s healing journey back to herself and her community. The novel highlights Morgan’s preparations for the inevitable final countdown with Gavin, but the lack of immediacy and urgency of the threat makes for a subdued, restrained thriller.

Roberts revisits a favorite theme: The power of community can defeat a great evil.

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9781250284112

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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