A giddy journey with an unforgettable sleuth to guide readers.

SHAVING WITH OCCAM

A clever amateur detective investigates a murder in this seriocomic mystery.

The tale’s narrator is Henrietta Florence Van Duyn Brigander, aka Granny Flamingo, aka The Mad Bird Lady of East 14th Street. Born into a wealthy and well-connected, if quirky, old family, she slipped into schizophrenia early on in life and has been on the streets or in psychiatric wards ever since. Now, someone in the mental illness ward at Mount Hebron hospital has been murdered. Henrietta is determined to find the killer, especially because she was sweet on the victim, Big George Currier. So it’s off to the races, all over Manhattan and Queens, while the Albanian Mafia may be out to kill her. Readers meet all sorts of street denizens worthy of Dickens, plus some sleazy bureaucrats and time servers: It is the Big Apple full bore. Eventually, Henrietta arrives at a possible solution that is outrageously improbable but somehow logical. The English philosopher William of Ockham would be proud of his acolyte. Appel is clearly having great fun, and Henrietta is a wonderful character. She was born to tell her story, just as Holden Caulfield and Ishmael were. She is talkative and adept at digressions, especially about the history of her illustrious family, piling anecdote upon anecdote. Anywayis her device for gulping for a breath in this cascade. Twins are a motif here. Big George and Little Abe were identical twins, and Henrietta and her deceased brother, Rusky, were fraternal twins (he was also schizophrenic, and he stepped into an empty elevator shaft). The author makes excellent use of this trope (see Shakespeare, et. al.). Besides the vivid Brigander family anecdotes are Henrietta’s intriguing cultural and historical allusions. The woman is a font of trivia and constantly annoyed that others are so clueless. This gives rise to the exhilarating book’s last 50-some pages, which are titled “Glossary of Things You Should Know…” and enlighten readers about all those allusions. Appel is a working psychiatrist (write what you know), among other things—he has picked up advanced degrees almost like a hobby.

A giddy journey with an unforgettable sleuth to guide readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73536-013-3

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Press Americana

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 38

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more