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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Locke’s advancement here is so bracing that you can’t wait to discover what happens next along her East Texas highway.

HEAVEN, MY HOME

The redoubtable Locke follows up her Edgar-winning Bluebird, Bluebird (2017) with an even knottier tale of racism and deceit set in the same scruffy East Texas boondocks.

It’s the 2016 holiday season, and African American Texas Ranger Darren Matthews has plenty of reasons for disquiet besides the recent election results. Chiefly there’s the ongoing fallout from Darren’s double murder investigation involving the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. He and his wife are in counseling. He’s become a “desk jockey” in the Rangers’ Houston office while fending off suspicions from a district attorney who thinks Darren hasn’t been totally upfront with him about a Brotherhood member’s death. (He hasn’t.) And his not-so-loving mother is holding on to evidence that could either save or crucify him with the district attorney. So maybe it’s kind of a relief for Darren to head for the once-thriving coastal town of Jefferson, where the 9-year-old son of another Brotherhood member serving hard time for murdering a black man has gone missing while motorboating on a nearby lake. Then again, there isn’t that much relief given the presence of short-fused white supremacists living not far from descendants of the town’s original black and Native American settlers—one of whom, an elderly black man, is a suspect in the possible murder of the still-missing boy. Meanwhile, Darren’s cultivating his own suspicions of chicanery involving the boy’s wealthy and imperious grandmother, whose own family history is entwined with the town’s antebellum past and who isn’t so fazed with her grandson’s disappearance that she can’t have a lavish dinner party at her mansion. In addition to her gifts for tight pacing and intense lyricism, Locke shows with this installment of her Highway 59 series a facility for unraveling the tangled strands of the Southwest’s cultural legacy and weaving them back together with the volatile racial politics and traumatic economic stresses of the present day. With her confident narrative hands on the wheel, this novel manages to evoke a portrait of Trump-era America—which, as someone observes of a pivotal character in the story, resembles “a toy ball tottering on a wire fence” that “could fall either way.”

Locke’s advancement here is so bracing that you can’t wait to discover what happens next along her East Texas highway.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-36340-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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