Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, April 6, 2012

Week ending April 6, 2012

starred review starDial, Connie. Fallen Angels. Permanent. Apr. 2012. c.296p. ISBN 9781579622749. $29. M
The third novel from 27-year LAPD veteran Dial eschews the role of Sgt. Mike Turner, featured in Internal Affairs and The Broken Blue Line, in favor of Capt. Josie Corsino, who manages a division of homicide detectives better than the men in her personal life. The novel opens with the discovery of the corpse of a murdered starlet and branches out quickly to mine the rich seam of police corruption, police bureaucracy, and damage control PR. Added to the mix are Hollywood’s seamy side, murder, suicide, blackmail, prostitution, and politicians on the take.
Dial writes with the knowledge and procedural minutiae of the insider she once was. And she bolsters her novel’s feminist credentials (not to mention the integrity of the storytelling and plot) with another strong realistic female protagonist, Lt. Marge Bailey. Authentic, well paced, and deftly written, this is a great addition to the police procedural crime fiction subgenre.‚ Seamus Scanlon, Ctr. for Worker Education, CUNY

starred review starHiggins, Kristan. Somebody To Love. HQN: Harlequin. Apr. 2012. 425p. ISBN 9780373776580. pap. $7.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Parker Harrington Welles’s financier father, Harry, has been indicted for insider trading and has liquidated her trust fund to repay those he defrauded. Also being confiscated is the family’s Rhode Island home, where Parker lives with her five-year-old son, Nicky. She is the author of a successful children’s book series, The Holy Rollers, but the proceeds are donated to Save the Children, leaving Parker’s sole asset a house in Gideon’s Cove, ME, bequeathed to her by a great-aunt. While Nicky is on vacation with his father, Ethan, and his stepmother, Lucy (The Next Best Thing)‚ Parker’s closest friends‚ Parker hopes she can flip her inheritance and make some money. What she doesn’t expect is renovation help from James Cahill, Harry’s lawyer, whom Parker refers to disdainfully as Thing One. But James proves expert at construction and attractive bare-chested, so it’s difficult to ignore him. It’s also hard to ignore the one-night stand they shared three years ago.
Verdict Higgins (Until There Was You) revives characters and a setting from earlier works to create a heartwarming story of two people struggling with their own perceived failures who come together to build a relationship. Romance fans and lovers of women’s fiction will devour this witty and tender novel. Highly recommended.‚ Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

McGreevy, Brian. Hemlock Grove; or, The Wise Wolf. Farrar. Apr. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9780374532918. pap. $15. F
Peter Rumancek is a new student at the high school in Hemlock Grove, PA. Being the new kid at school is enough to turn heads, but Peter is of gypsy blood, and word gets out he might be a werewolf as well. When the mutilated bodies of young girls begin showing up, Peter becomes a suspect. He teams with local bad boy Roman Godfrey, whose family essentially owns the small town, to investigate the murders. There are plenty of suspects in Hemlock Grove, which houses a looming biotechnology facility called the White Tower where human and animal experiments take place.
Screenwriter McGreevy makes a stunning literary debut with this gothic, paranormal thriller. He plays on gothic themes with misfits and mobsters inhabiting his story, but he grounds his plot with plenty of authentic angst-ridden teenage turmoil. Though the writing can be stilted at times, this novel keeps you guessing until the very end. Any fans of paranormal or horror genres will be delighted by this novel. The ending leaves an opening for a sequel, and McGreevy has signed on to produce an adaption of the book for Netflix. [Library marketing; the author is also working on an adaption of Dracula for Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company.‚ Ed.]‚ Brooke Bolton, North Manchester P.L., IN

Scott, Amanda. Highland Lover. Forever: Grand Central. (Scottish Knights, Bk. 3). Apr. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780446574327. pap. $7.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
An adventurous sea voyage for Lady Alyson MacGillivray and her new husband, Niall, turns deadly as pirates do away with the passengers and crew and kidnap young Jamie Stewart, heir to the Scottish throne. The marauders also leave Lady Alyson trapped in a chest aboard the sinking ship, from which she is rescued by a dashing and familiar nobleman. Sir Jacob Maxwell, Cap’n Jake to his sailors, has been secretly tracking the ship at the behest of the king to make sure Jamie arrives safely in France. As Alyson and Jake make their way back to Scotland, the attraction between them grows, but Niall’s unknown fate is a problem‚ until the church and a surprising revelation change the situation. An independent, resourceful heroine gifted with The Sight, a true hero, and a complex plot make this another winner for the acknowledged doyenne of the Scottish romance and a satisfying conclusion to her trilogy.
Verdict Infusing her characters with passion, courage, and often a wry sense of humor, Scott (Highland Hero) brings all the violence, splendor, and wicked machinations of medieval Scotland (and England when necessary) to vivid life in a thrilling story that makes good use of historical events and characters. Guaranteed to please.‚ Kristin Ramsdell, Libn. Emerita, California State Univ., East Bay

Sipher, Devan. The Wedding Beat. NAL: Penguin Group (USA). Apr. 2012. 254p. ISBN 9780451235794. pap. $14. F
Thirty-seven-year-old Gavin Greene is the wedding columnist for the biggest paper in the country, heretofore referred to as The Paper. People pitch him stories of their romances, while Gavin is still looking for his own perfect mate. Gavin’s friend Hope invites him to a New Year’s Day party, and among the throng he thinks he might have found the woman for him. But he hesitates, and she leaves before he can get her number or even her last name. Love isn’t easy for a man who delves into the intricacies of other people’s love lives. There are a few bridal red herrings here, as our hero’s serial-dating younger brother and clueless parents add to his general dismay over wedded bliss.
Verdict Sipher, who writes the Vows column for the New York Times, delivers in his debut novel a poignant and funny appeal to all singles to let go and give love a try. The clever and snappy prose will appeal to readers who look forward to each new title from Jonathan Tropper, though Sipher puts less stress on our protagonist’s Jewishness. Smart and thoroughly enjoyable, The Wedding Beat is recommended for everyone who still sees marriage as a goal, not a penalty. [Reading group guide.]‚ Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"