A lively but overly complex story about the lives and loves of some unfulfilled Philadelphians.



A bored technical writer in an unhappy marriage tries to disappear, but his father-in-law has a private investigator hot on his trail in this debut novel.

Tim Adams used to be a PR executive at Courtland Chemical Industries. But after attempting to expose CEO Richard King’s malfeasance, Tim was relegated to the tedious world of the technical writing department. He does not love his new role (“Working at Courtland Chemical Industries was as toxic as the deadly substances he wrote about”), and to make matters worse, the obnoxious new PR guy mercilessly taunts Tim about his demotion. Things are no better at home, where Tim’s wife, Angelica, is as miserable in the marriage as he is. He married into a tough-as-nails Italian American family in Philadelphia that’s headed by patriarch Luciano Dante, owner of the storied restaurant Dante’s Italia. Luciano isn’t happy with Tim either. He wants Angelica to take over the business upon his retirement, but she has no interest in doing the work required, and Luciano feels things would be easier with Tim out of the way. Just as Tim is taking out personal ads under the pseudonym Adonis, Luciano hires a private detective, hoping to catch his son-in-law having an affair. As it happens, Tim is planning to leave town with one of his children and vanish, but he ends up being followed by not just the PI, but also by federal officials. In his zeal to assume a new identity, his counterfeiters made him an unwitting credit-card fraud mule, and Tim’s disappearing act has made him a prime target. What seemed like a meticulously planned trip into the unknown has now turned into a high-wire act that puts his future in serious jeopardy. DeSanto’s briskly told story has vivid elements of family drama and mystery, snappy dialogue, and a variety of interconnected plot points. Though it is clear that Tim’s tale is the central one in the novel, some of the storylines are unnecessary or lead to overcomplication (the problems at Courtland Chemical alone, for example, are enough to sustain the book). As it is, though, the family issues and Tim’s escape have terrific details and believable characters, and the addition of a little cloak-and-dagger action makes the tale even more compelling.

A lively but overly complex story about the lives and loves of some unfulfilled Philadelphians.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2020

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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