An often intriguing and emotional look at lives on and off the road.

Roadies take a break from touring to rethink their lives in Black’s novel.

The people who work for rock star Sadie Estrada are like family, for good or ill. Among them are Alex, the tour electrician, and Lily, Sadie’s long-suffering personal assistant. Alex loves her job, but when she discovers that she’s pregnant, she quits to settle down with her boyfriend, Connor. He feels panicky about the baby, as he already has a grown daughter whose life he’s not much involved with. Then Alex miscarries, and she decides to return to tour life—although some of the joy is gone now that she no longer has seniority. During a concert in Italy, part of the rig falls and injures Sadie, and the crew blames Alex even though she knows she had nothing to do with it. The four women roadies on the tour—Alex, Lily, and two other stagehands—decide to rent a house in Tuscany for a vacation while the tour is stalled, and they bond on their trip. Lily is fed up with the abuse she gets from Sadie; Alex talks about her miscarriage and how painful it was. The pair think about staying in Italy, but their lives manage to catch up with them. Seeing the world of rock performance through the eyes of the roadies takes some of the glam away—they work hard, stay in bad hotels, and travel so much they can’t keep track of where they are, as noted in the title. This aspect of the novel is compelling, as most novels about rock bands follow around the musicians and not the behind-the-scenes crew. But although the plot moves quickly, it feels more like a mere series of events than an arc, and the ending leaves a few things unresolved. Still, Black does a nice job of describing the Tuscany setting, as when the vacationing women reach their destination in a remote village: “The rental house sat two hundred feet beyond a tall stone wall and looked like a place where even the most tightly wound show tech could rest.”

An often intriguing and emotional look at lives on and off the road.

Pub Date: May 31, 2021


Page Count: 236

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2021


A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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