An involving tale that proves a modest artifact can lead to a grand adventure.



A historical incident influences a modern economic conspiracy in this thriller.

In the third volume of his Matt Hawkins series, Richardson (Abolition of Evil, 2016, etc.) shows how what was thought to be a myth can impede a foreign power’s attempt to take over the world economy. Matt gets pulled away from his sedate life as an antiques dealer in Savannah, Georgia, after Adam Hampton, his college roommate, commits suicide. Adam’s death feels wrong to Matt. Adam’s sister, Kate, who Matt meets again at the funeral, agrees: “ ‘I don't think Adam jumped in front of that train,’ she stated evenly. ‘I think he was pushed. In fact, I'm sure of it.’ ” As the two cohorts, who become romantically involved, begin poking around into what Adam was working on, bad things start happening to them. After her apartment gets trashed, Kate discovers a clue among Adam’s effects—an old map of New Mexico with “Geronomo’s Gold” written on it. Kate, Matt, and his mentor, Buzz Penberthy, a member of the secret society The Ring, figure out that the map has something to do with a present-day scheme involving gold. But they can’t put all of the pieces together until Matt meets with Adam’s boss, James Sinclair, who nervously lays out the situation for him: “The Chinese want more control. They want to be the world’s greatest superpower, but they recognize they can only achieve that goal if they have the world’s dominant currency.” The race is on to find Geronimo’s Gold and save the United States from becoming a second-rate economic power. Richardson has done an admirable job creating a thoughtful thriller. While he doesn’t skimp on action, he skillfully employs flashbacks so that readers understand how the activities of Geronimo, Theodore Roosevelt, and a Sinclair ancestor affect contemporary events. The characters are largely engaging, even secondary ones, such as Geronimo’s descendant Kenny Morgan, although the villains, a greedy trader and a bunch of interchangeable Chinese officials, remain fairly one-dimensional. Best of all, the author makes economics enjoyable, no mean feat. Richardson leaves readers wondering what nugget from history will next lure Matt from his antiques shop.

An involving tale that proves a modest artifact can lead to a grand adventure.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2017

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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