An entertaining shell game of a novel.


An unsophisticated intern at a fashion magazine fears her new, wealthy mentor may be a con artist.

Rigetti’s entertaining first novel lays out how easily a grifter can take advantage of the system—and the naïve. And no one seems to be a better target for a con artist than unsophisticated would-be writer Lora Ricci from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Lora has just started an internship at glamorous Elle magazine in Manhattan, but she feels overwhelmed. She has failed her courses at NYU and is hiding her lost scholarship from her parents, and she knows she’s at a disadvantage compared to the other trust fund–fueled interns around her. Then she meets charismatic contributing editor Cat Wolff, heiress to an Austrian billionaire’s fortune, who offers her an opportunity that seems too good to be true. She invites Lora to move into her huge suite at the Plaza Hotel so that Lora can ghostwrite short stories for her, a plan that will surely catapult them to a lucrative literary contract. A savvier writer might balk at such a ridiculous suggestion—trying to climb the literary ladder is hardly the best way to access instant wealth—but the plan sounds plausible to the increasingly desperate Lora, who doesn’t know what to do when her internship ends. Meanwhile, readers know something that Lora does not: Rigetti reveals from the start of this clever, fast-paced book that Cat is not all that she seems. The novel’s opening pages consist of an FBI transcript, and Rigetti tells the story using a variety of ephemera—journal entries, Instagram posts, texts—to heighten the mystery as Lora begins to question Cat’s motives and actions. This isn’t a book to take too seriously, but the crafty Rigetti makes fraud a lot of fun.

An entertaining shell game of a novel.

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-307205-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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Escape to the lakefront with this entertaining romance.


A Canadian 30-something gets a second chance at love and career.

If Fern Brookbanks ever opened the Toronto espresso shop of her dreams, the first song on the playlist would be “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. That could be the soundtrack of this upbeat, often very witty Canadian romance novel as well. Unfortunately, though, 32-year-old Fern will not be opening any espresso shops but instead must cope with managing the struggling cottage resort she's suddenly inherited on Lake Muskoka. She grew up on its grounds, and her only significant accomplishment so far in life is getting out of there. But then her mother, a 55-year-old powerhouse who's been running the place single-handedly all her adult life, dies in a car crash. Left to help poor Fern keep things going are her high school boyfriend, Jamie, and her mother's dear friend Peter, the resort's master baker, who helped raise Fern and nurtured her love of great playlists. Then Will Baxter, a handsome hunk her mother hired as a consultant to help save the hotel, turns out to be the very guy Fern had the most amazing night of her life with 10 years ago—only he broke her heart by failing to show up for their second date. Fortune fills her novel with food, music, and clothing descriptions and has some truly great one-liners: “I didn't know an apron could be sexy, but this apron is the lost Hemsworth brother of aprons.” The suspense is created by withholding information: What was Fern’s outrageous teenage transgression? What was the terrible thing she read in her mother’s diary? Why did Will stand her up 10 years ago? While this technique does feel a bit formulaic, it keeps the pages turning.

Escape to the lakefront with this entertaining romance.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780593438558

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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