A bright, brash, candid novel with a compelling story about one family in a rough part of town.


A troubled family in a hardscrabble Nevada trailer park longs for success and uncovers a family secret in Case’s (I'm Going to the Doctor?!, 2015, etc.) novel.

Janice Sloan has never given up on her dream of being a singer, and at 48, she knows that time is running out. The karaoke contest at the local bar comes with a sizable prize, and Janice plans to win it and finally take off for Nashville. She seeks happiness, “The kind that could give her goose bumps on a hot summer day for no other reason than the sun warmed her skin.” But she has seven kids, an alcoholic husband, and has been trapped in the run-down Bengal Trailer Park for 30 years. Her husband, Harry, has just woken up with bloody knuckles after a drunken binge, and later in the day, he strikes Janice, who kicks him out. Teenage daughter Carrie has been saving for college and making plans to escape the trailer and live a better life. She’s an excellent student, but her parents haven’t cooperated with filling out the student loan forms. Adult son WJ belongs to a local gang. Discharged from the military after being exposed as gay, WJ has turned into a rage-filled aggressor who deals drugs to people in a community that doesn’t have many happy outcomes. As the family clings to stability, the layers of the past begin to unfold, centering around Janice’s roots in Minnesota. An old secret has the potential to tear apart the family but may also lead to peace of mind for those who need it most. Case’s tightly plotted novel dives right into the center of the cast’s working-class problems. The characters’ dreams and ambitions are palpable and tend to propel the family through each crisis no matter how bleak. In frank but polished writing, Case has created imperfect characters that have a remarkable knack for hanging on through tough times. This trailer park is where almost everyone fails, but the conclusion is infused with an optimism that highlights the strength of the world Case has so carefully created.

A bright, brash, candid novel with a compelling story about one family in a rough part of town.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997015-5-3

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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