Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, September 27, 2013

Week ending September 27, 2013

Deaver, Jeffery. The October List. Grand Central. Oct. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781455576647. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455576661. F
In his second thriller of 2013 (after The Kill Room), set amid the high-octane world of Manhattan’s investment brokers, Deaver delivers a devilishly deceitful plot in reverse. Occurring over a three-day weekend, the story begins with its supposed clincher, which takes place on a Sunday afternoon, then moves back to Friday morning’s startling climax. Confused yet? Beginning in the present, Gabriela, an office manager at Prescott Investments, waits in her apartment for an update from Daniel Reardon of the Norwalk Fund, who’s striking a deal with her daughter’s kidnapper for a $500,000 ransom and the notorious missing “October List.” This was a document kept by Gabriela’s former boss.
Verdict Although Deaver doles out plenty of surprising twists and cliffhangers, fans accustomed to his staccato pace, fluid style, and exceptionally clever plotlines may feel a bit hoodwinked after finishing this overly convoluted tale and its disappointing big climax reveal. In the novel’s foreword, Deaver wonders if he could pull off telling a tale in reverse. Nope, not in this case—this superb thriller writer missed the mark here.—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA

Fielding, Helen. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Knopf. Oct. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780385350860. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350877. F
She’s back, still counting calories and alcohol intake, but our beloved heroine has also changed. Bridget is now a fiftysomething widow raising two young children while aspiring to be a screenwriter. Four years after the loss of her beloved Darcy, Bridget’s friends have pushed her back into the social stream. She has managed to land a 29-year-old boyfriend but is still ditzy enough to have life collapsing around her regularly as she juggles her increasingly odd mother, the insanity of film agents and script rewrites, and the demands of the supermom school event coordinator. The boy toy isn’t going to work out but, no fear, there is a Dan Craig look-alike waiting in the wings to provide a happy ending.
Verdict This third time around for Bridget and friends works (after Bridget Jone’s Diary; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), the usual silliness is well balanced by the realities of aging and loss. She’s kept her charm and earned her second Prince Charming. [See Prepub Alert, 4/22/13.]—Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC

Gibson, Rachel. Run to You. Avon. Oct. 2013. 348p. ISBN 9780062069146. pap. $7.99; ebk ISBN 9780062069153. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Stella Leon (née Estella Immaculata Leon-Hollowell) is a good bartender—and in Miami, that’s saying something. But things are a bit too hot in Florida now that her Mafia-connected boss and his goons are after her. She didn’t even know the guy in the black T-shirt and baseball cap who clocked Ricky was in the club’s parking lot. Now, she has to get out of Dodge, and Mr. T-shirt is going to drive her—all the way to Lovett, TX, to her half-sister, Sadie. Sadie didn’t know she even had a sister until their very wealthy father died two months ago. Ex-marine Beau Junger only came to Miami as a favor to Sadie’s fiancé, Vince, who fought with Beau and Beau’s twin brother, Blake, in the Middle East. He was looking for love when he decided to be sexually “on the bench” eight months ago. Is the lust he feels for Stella strong enough to derail his plans? Can a 28-year-old virgin be that inventive?
Verdict Having two protagonists abstaining from “going to the bone yard” is an intriguing premise yet it doesn’t prevent Gibson (Rescue Me) from turning up the heat in this spicy romance of supposed opposites definitely attracting each other. It seems there is still a lot one can do when one isn’t “doing it.” For most romance readers.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

starred review starJacobson, Alan. No Way Out: A Karen Vail Novel. Premier Digital. Sept. 2013. 526p. ISBN 9781624670848. pap. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624670749. F
FBI profiler Karen Vail can’t catch a break. After her last case (detailed in Inmate 1577), she is needed in England to solve the bombing of a London art gallery. Scotland Yard doesn’t want her help, and Vail needs a success to get back in the good graces of her superiors. A cursory examination of the explosion site reveals the existence of a secret manuscript that could change the history of the written word forever. Then someone she knows and trusts appears to have become a traitor.
Verdict Vail is a terrific character, and throwing her into a foreign environment without her usual allies invigorates the plot and the series. Jacobson also knows how to throw in plot twists that are shocking but logical at the same time. Fans who have tired of James Patterson may enjoy discovering this author with this outstanding thriller.—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.

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"