Fans won’t care: It’s good, creepy fun from a pro who can practically write in the dark.

ALL NIGHT LONG

The mistress of sheet-wringing suspense (Falling Awake, 2004, etc.) scores with a sexy thriller set in Dunsley, a small northern California lake town still seething from a family murder 17 years before.

Irene Stenson was only 15 on the summer night she returned from an evening drive with best friend Pamela Webb to find the gunshot corpses of her parents on the floor of their lake house. The verdict at the time was that Dunsley police chief Hugh Stenson shot his wife and then himself, possibly in a jealous rage. The day after their funeral, an elderly aunt took the shell-shocked Irene away. Seventeen years later, Irene is a toughened reporter at an obscure newspaper elsewhere in California. She’s drawn back to Dunsley by an email from Pamela, whom she hasn’t seen since, asking to meet her to discuss “the past.” Trailed by Luke Danner, the curiously proprietary owner of the secluded lodge where she’s staying, Irene gets to her former friend too late; Pamela seems to have died of a drug overdose. Yet Irene is suspicious, nagged by the fact that Pamela had tried to contact her. She distrusts many of Dunsley’s inhabitants, from police chief Sam McPherson to the members of Pamela’s rich family, led by slick senator (and presidential aspirant) Ryland Webb. Clues open up as Irene runs into catty former acquaintances in town. She’s shadowed constantly by Luke, a likable ex-Marine who has suffered his own share of post-traumatic stress. Typically, Krentz provides her heroine with just enough independence to be daring, yet not so much as to seem hard or impervious to the attractions of her manly suitor. Characters move a bit too easily through these tidy pages, and it’s regrettable that Krentz switches POV to reveal the villains’ obvious intentions when readers are perfectly capable of figuring them out.

Fans won’t care: It’s good, creepy fun from a pro who can practically write in the dark.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-15305-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Reid’s tome on married life is as uplifting as it is brutally honest—a must-read for anyone who is in (or hopes to be in) a...

AFTER I DO

An unhappily married couple spends a year apart in Reid’s (Forever, Interrupted, 2013) novel about second chances.

When we meet Lauren, she and her husband, Ryan, are having a meltdown trying to find their car in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium after a game. Through a series of flashbacks, Lauren reveals how the two of them went from being inseparable to being insufferable in each other’s eyes—and in desperate need of a break. Both their courtship and their fights seem so ordinary—they met in college; he doesn’t like Greek food—that the most heartbreaking part of their pending separation is deciding who will get custody of their good-natured dog. It’s not until Ryan moves out that the juicy details emerge. Lauren surreptitiously logs into his email one day, in a fit of missing him, and discovers a bunch of emails to her that he had saved but not sent. Liberated by Ryan’s candor, Lauren saves her replies for him to find, and the two of them read each other’s unfiltered thoughts as they go about their separate lives. Neither character holds anything back, which makes the healing process more complex, and more compelling, than simply getting revenge or getting one’s groove back. Meanwhile, as Lauren spends more time with her family and friends, she explores the example set for her by her parents and learns that there are many ways to be happy. It’s never clear until the final pages whether living alone will bring Lauren and Ryan back together or force them apart forever. But when the year is up, the resolution is neither sappy nor cynical; it’s arrived at after an honest assessment of what each partner can’t live with and can’t live without.

Reid’s tome on married life is as uplifting as it is brutally honest—a must-read for anyone who is in (or hopes to be in) a committed relationship.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1284-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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