THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

Childhood playmates can’t quite put their past behind them in Lippman’s tale of growing up too fast but not at all.

Like the five points of the star Go-Go Halloran can’t get the knack of drawing, Go-Go, his brothers Tim and Sean, Gwen and Mickey seem joined even though each points in a different direction. Tomboy Mickey hates school, loves the outdoors and is neglected by her mother, a waitress with a taste for the wrong men. Pudgy Gwen worries that she’ll never be attractive, and once she is, worries even more that she’ll turn into her beautiful, sad mother Tally. Tim is a bit of a lout, Sean is the perfect gentleman, but neither gets much attention because their hyperkinetic younger brother Gordon, known to everyone in Dickeyville as Go-Go, snatches up every bit of the family’s limited resources. Still, the five travel in unprecedented freedom throughout nearby Leakin Park, even though grown-up Gwen would never let her daughter Annabelle spend hours on end out of the sight of any adult. They hike, catch tadpoles and discover a strange man living in a ramshackle cabin in the heart of the park. But their greatest adventure is being together until disaster tears them apart. Years later, Go-Go’s funeral reunites them briefly. Mickey has reinvented herself as McKey, a fearless flight attendant. Sean lives in Florida with his quietly domineering wife Vivian. Tim lives nearby with affectionate Arlene and takes care of his widowed mother Doris. But it’s Gwen, the journalist, teetering on the brink of her second divorce, who forces them to reexamine their assumptions about their shared and broken bond. No one explores the delicate interplay between children and the adults they grow into better than Lippman (I’d Know You Anywhere, 2010, etc.).

 

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-170651-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10

Ware (In A Dark, Dark Wood, 2015) offers up a classic “paranoid woman” story with a modern twist in this tense, claustrophobic mystery.

Days before departing on a luxury cruise for work, travel journalist Lo Blacklock is the victim of a break-in. Though unharmed, she ends up locked in her own room for several hours before escaping; as a result, she is unable to sleep. By the time she comes onboard the Aurora, Lo is suffering from severe sleep deprivation and possibly even PTSD, so when she hears a big splash from the cabin next door in the middle of the night, “the kind of splash made by a body hitting water,” she can’t prove to security that anything violent has actually occurred. To make matters stranger, there's no record of any passenger traveling in the cabin next to Lo’s, even though Lo herself saw a woman there and even borrowed makeup from her before the first night’s dinner party. Reeling from her own trauma, and faced with proof that she may have been hallucinating, Lo continues to investigate, aided by her ex-boyfriend Ben (who's also writing about the cruise), fighting desperately to find any shred of evidence that she may be right. The cast of characters, their conversations, and the luxurious but confining setting all echo classic Agatha Christie; in fact, the structure of the mystery itself is an old one: a woman insists murder has occurred, everyone else says she’s crazy. But Lo is no wallflower; she is a strong and determined modern heroine who refuses to doubt the evidence of her own instincts. Despite this successful formula, and a whole lot of slowly unraveling tension, the end is somehow unsatisfying. And the newspaper and social media inserts add little depth.

Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum.

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3293-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

LABYRINTH

Coulter’s treasured FBI agents take on two cases marked by danger and personal involvement.

Dillon Savitch and his wife, Lacey Sherlock, have special abilities that have served them well in law enforcement (Paradox, 2018, etc.). But that doesn't prevent Sherlock’s car from hitting a running man after having been struck by a speeding SUV that runs a red light. The runner, though clearly injured, continues on his way and disappears. Not so the SUV driver, a security engineer for the Bexholt Group, which has ties to government agencies. Sherlock’s own concussion causes memory loss so severe that she doesn’t recognize Savitch or remember their son, Sean. The whole incident seems more suspicious when a blood test from the splatter of the man Sherlock hit reveals that he’s Justice Cummings, an analyst for the CIA. The agency’s refusal to cooperate makes Savitch certain that Bexholt is involved in a deep-laid plot. Meanwhile, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith is visiting friends who run a cafe in the touristy Virginia town of Gaffers Ridge. Hammersmith, who has psychic abilities, is taken aback when he hears in his mind a woman’s cry for help. Reporter Carson DeSilva, who came to the area to interview a Nobel Prize winner, also has psychic abilities, and she overhears the thoughts of Rafer Bodine, a young man who has apparently kidnapped and possibly murdered three teenage girls. Unluckily, she blurts out her thoughts, and she’s snatched and tied up in a cellar by Bodine. Bodine may be a killer, but he’s also the nephew of the sheriff and the son of the local bigwig. So the sheriff arrests Hammersmith and refuses to accept his FBI credentials. Bodine's mother has psychic powers strong enough to kill, but she meets her match in Hammersmith, DeSilva, Savitch, and Sherlock.

Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9365-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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