A short, light, but messy tale of self-discovery.


A Rusty Story

Felsher’s debut novel tells the story of one man’s search for his stolen bike during a chaotic summer of 2010.

Just before he’s set to begin work at an investment firm, Rusty is living in a small town in Connecticut, nursing a crush on a woman who works at the local bookstore and preparing for a bicycle race—that is, until his bike gets stolen by someone in a white pickup truck. The bike was a gift from his father and holds great sentimental value, and he’ll do anything to get it back. His quest eventually leads him to meet Jade, a local bartender, and her married boyfriend, Richard, a man of great wealth who may be able to help Rusty with his new career. Rusty also asks out Rebecca, the bookshop woman, and their flirtation becomes something more substantial. On top of all this, Rusty must deal with his former roommate, now a novelist, who takes a break from his hedonistic pursuits to offer Rusty advice, such as, “When you just do things, knowing that everything is true within yourself and you’re merely a character within God’s novel, you have to step aside and ask yourself what kind of character you want to be.” Felsher often writes with exuberance and verve in this debut. However, readers won’t usually have as much fun as the author does, as the characters’ behaviors are inconsistent and often confusing; Rusty, in particular, has cloudy motivations that seem to shift from scene to scene, and much of the plot seems propelled by his inability to stay on task. Rusty’s narration is also unpleasantly mawkish in a way that betrays no self-awareness: “She looked up at me with a lonely tear sliding down her cheek. I nodded, recognizing that she was the most loving and fragile woman I had come across in quite some time.” Overall, the book has all the ingredients of a fun romp, but it never quite coalesces into one.

A short, light, but messy tale of self-discovery.

Pub Date: May 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5115-1558-0

Page Count: 182

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2016

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.


An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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