A thrilling gothic-romance novel that melds family secrets, magic, and marriage—with room for a sequel, of course.

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The Angel of the Mansion

A young aspiring model becomes embroiled in supernatural family dynamics in Rich’s debut paranormal romance.

Mediterranean-born, 18-year-old Anis accompanies her best friend to a modeling contest. There, Anis is noticed by the booking agency’s reps for having a look with “naturalness and genuineness,” and, in a lucrative arrangement, she begins working with them. In Manhattan, she meets Michael Solomon, a mysterious, obsessive, controlling man almost twice her age, at a fashion show. Not long afterward, she’s mysteriously attacked by an unknown man. As she recovers, Michael continues to pursue her, and he seems to exhibit a mystical power over her. He soon proposes marriage, and eventually she returns his affections. She discovers that he lives on a grand family estate, as he’s a descendant of the wealthy, powerful Solomon banking family. The couple’s marriage confronts the complications of business schedules as well as the awkwardness of befriending in-laws. Against a backdrop of international political unrest, Anis becomes acquainted with the house and its residents, but her loneliness deepens, and her habitual drinking and bizarre ghostly visions don’t help. Although her best friend, John, visits and offers solace, “the golden cage was beginning to lose its interest, and the role of the frosty queen had frozen me too,” she laments, and she despairs of the fact that she’s bound to Michael through a premarital agreement. Rich throws other elements into the moody mix: mystery women, including Michael’s obsessed ex-lover Grace; initiation rites; temples; magic spells; a mysterious brotherhood; and remote locales, such as Lake Como in Italy and Agio Oros in Greece. These aspects elevate the novel, as told from Anis’ first-person perspective, from a mere marital melodrama to an otherworldly, exquisitely detailed saga of mythical, spectral proportions. Although Anis eventually pleads for Michael to “take me out of this circus,” readers will be happy that they stand strong through it all. Overall, Rich has an impressive knack for literary pacing, and she also has the intuition not to overcomplicate her fiction with too many digressions. These qualities make it ideal for both YA and adult audiences who are eager for a sweeping, potent brew of danger and wizardry.

A thrilling gothic-romance novel that melds family secrets, magic, and marriage—with room for a sequel, of course.   

Pub Date: July 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4917-9848-5

Page Count: 526

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

THINGS IN JARS

Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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