Category Archives: Hanover Square Press

Review: Sister Stardust by Jane Green

Title: Sister Stardust by Jane Green
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Historical (’60s), Fiction
Length: 311 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In her first novel inspired by a true story, Jane Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty in this transporting story from a forgotten chapter of the Swinging ’60s

From afar Talitha’s life seemed perfect. In her twenties, and already a famous model and actress, she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty, the famous oil heir. There she presided over a swirling ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.

When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for the adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous facade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.


Sister Stardust by Jane Green is a fictionalized novel that sweeps readers into the glamorous but tragic world of Talitha and J. Paul Getty Jr.

It is the late 60’s and Claire Collins dreams of leaving her small town behind for a glitzy life in London. Lucking into jobs in popular clothing stores, she meets a man whose involvement in the up-and-coming music scene leads to an unexpected meeting with Talitha Getty. Claire impetuously journeys to Morocco with a band that knows Talitha and she is soon living a wild and free life at the Getty’s home in Marrakesh. Claire’s drug-filled and free-love time with Talitha ends with tragedy but will their friendship endure?

Claire and her brother Robbie’s life after their mother’s untimely death is even more miserable after her father remarries. Neither want or need a stepmother and their homelife with their father’s cold new wife becomes untenable once they are of age. After a vicious row, Claire leaves for London where she is finally able to break free of her formerly staid life. She is definitely not expecting what awaits her in Marrakesh but she and Talitha become close friends.

Talitha and Paul split their time between Morocco and Rome. She is social butterfly who loves the parties while Paul would rather spend time alone. Morocco is her chance to indulge in her love of the limelight and she seizes every opportunity to entertain their friends. Talitha enjoys having Claire with her Marrakesh but are either of them prepared for what awaits them?

Sister Stardust is a captivating novel that vibrantly depicts the music scene and wild party vibe of the 1960s. Claire is an eager participant in her time in Marrakesh but is she fready for the crazy life that Talitha enjoys?  Talitha and Paul’s story arc is an accurate portrait of their marriage and decadent lifestyle in Marrakesh. The storyline easily captures the reader’s attention and tightly holds it until Jane Green brings the novel to a poignant conclusion.

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Filed under Fiction, Hanover Square Press, Historical, Historical (60s), Jane Green, Rated B+, Review, Sister Stardust

Review: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Title: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson
An Inspector Anjelica Henley Thriller Book One
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 4103 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A serial killer and his copycat are locked in a violent game of cat and mouse. Can DI Anjelica Henley stop them before it’s too late?

On the day she returns to active duty with the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley is called to a crime scene. Dismembered body parts from two victims have been found by the river.

The modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer, who has spent the past two years behind bars. When he learns that someone is co-opting his grisly signature—the arrangement of victims’ limbs in puzzle-piece shapes—he decides to take matters into his own hands.

As the body count rises, DI Anjelica Henley is faced with an unspeakable new threat. Can she apprehend the copycat killer before Olivier finds a way to get to him first? Or will she herself become the next victim?

Drawing on her experience as a criminal attorney, debut novelist Nadine Matheson delivers the page-turning crime novel of the year. Taut, vivid and addictively sinister, The Jigsaw Man will leave you breathless until the very last page.


The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson is a chilling mystery.

Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley’s first case back in the field involves the grisly discovery of two dismembered bodies. She is less than thrilled to be assigned to work with Trainee Detective Constable Salim Ramouter. The killings are eerily similar to a case she worked a few years ago. Peter Olivier is serving a life sentence for the conviction of the earlier murders. Anjelica suspects the copycat killer might be in contact with Olivier since the certain aspects of the current murders so closely resemble his murders. With Salim in tow, Anjelica journeys to HMP Belmarsh prison to question Olivier. Will the convicted murderer provide any details that will assist them in their investigation?

Anjelica’s first confrontation with Olivier did not end well and she is still struggling with the aftereffects of their first encounter.  But she is determined to not let the past interfere with the present investigation so she powers through her unease.  Anjelica has many years of experience but she and Salim quickly hit a few roadblocks after another person is killed in the same manner. They continue to hope Olivier will provide them with information that will help track down the killer before he strikes again.

Anjelica is trying to balance her career with motherhood and marriage. Her husband Rob is understandably concerned for her safety, but he makes unreasonable demands.  Anjelica is frustrated when he takes matters into his own hands and becomes even more intractable. Will these concerns about her marriage distract her from her investigation?

Much to Anjelica’s dismay, Olivier manages to stay a few steps of her and Ramouter as they try to find a connection between him and the copycat. They discover a visitor of his who might provide answers but he stubbornly remains silent. Anjelica and Salim also wonder if the copycat has murdered before. Once they finally understand the link between the current murders and Olivier, will they identify him before it is too late?

The Jigsaw Man is a riveting mystery with a captivating storyline. Anjelica is a bit rough around the edges, but this does not detract from her appeal. Salim might be new to the police force, but he has keen instincts. He and Anjelica prove to be a formidable team as they hunt for the copycat killer. With the tension ratcheting higher with each chapter, Nadine Matheson brings this unsettling mystery to an edge of the seat conclusion. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this enthralling mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under An Inspector Anjelica Henley Thriller, Contemporary, Hanover Square Press, Mystery, Nadine Matheson, Rated B+, Review, Suspense

Review: The Bright Lands by John Fram

Title: The Bright Lands by John Fram
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Mystery, Horror
Length: 480 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The town of Bentley holds two things dear: its football, and its secrets. But when star quarterback Dylan Whitley goes missing, an unremitting fear grips this remote corner of Texas.

Joel Whitley was shamed out of conservative Bentley ten years ago, and while he’s finally made a life for himself as a gay man in New York, his younger brother’s disappearance soon brings him back to a place he thought he’d escaped for good. Meanwhile, Sheriff’s Deputy Starsha Clark stayed in Bentley; Joel’s return brings back painful memories—not to mention questions—about her own missing brother. And in the high school hallways, Dylan’s friends begin to suspect that their classmates know far more than they’re telling the police. Together, these unlikely allies will stir up secrets their town has long tried to ignore, drawing the attention of dangerous men who will stop at nothing to see that their crimes stay buried.

But no one is quite prepared to face the darkness that’s begun to haunt their nightmares, whispering about a place long thought to be nothing but an urban legend: an empty night, a flicker of light on the horizon—The Bright Lands.

Shocking, twisty and relentlessly suspenseful, John Fram’s debut is a heart-pounding story about old secrets, modern anxieties and the price young men pay for glory.


The Bright Lands by John Fram is a small town mystery with horror elements.

Bullied and humiliated for being gay, Joel Whitley left his small hometown of Bentley, TX behind him ten years ago.  Now living in New York, he has a successful career and he enjoys all the perks of big city life. But after a series of troubling texts with his ten years younger brother Dylan, Joel returns to Bentley to find out what is going on. When Dylan vanishes, Joel will do whatever it takes to find him. He eventually teams up with Sheriff’s Deputy Starsha Clark and together they attempt to learn the truth about Dylan and ultimately, their town.

Joel is wracked with guilt that his relationship with Dylan is distant and superficial.  Which is why he vows to do better once he realizes something is wrong with his brother.  Immediately after his return to Bentley, he is plagued by unpleasant memories and exhausting, terrifying dreams. After Dylan fails to return home after a weekend away with his football buddies, Joel and his mother fear the worst.

Dylan is a star quarterback and he is revered by everyone in Bentley.  He tries to downplay his texts to Joel and goes forward with his weekend plans with his friends. In the aftermath of his disappearance, Joel  discovers disquieting information about his brother that leads to more questions than answers. But he remains committed to exposing the truth about what happened to Dylan.

After Dylan goes missing, Clark is surprised when she is assigned to work with Inspector Grady Mayfield. They begin questioning the quarterback’s circle of friends which is somewhat frustrating due to their lack of candor. As the situation worsens over the course of a week, Clark and Joel find help from very unexpected sources. And their quest for answers leads right to mysterious whisperings of the Bright Lands.  Are Joel and Clark prepared for what awaits them as their investigation takes a shocking, horror-filled  turn?

The Bright Lands is a riveting mystery with a large cast of characters and an imaginative storyline. Written from multiple points of view, the tension rises with every chapter. Exhaustion and fear are palpable as Joel, Clark and Dylan’s classmates venture deep into the surrounding  flat lands in hopes of finally uncovering the secrets that some of Bentley’s residents are keeping. With plenty of action and suspense,  John Fram brings this spine-tingling mystery to an edge of the seat, action packed conclusion. An impressive debut that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

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Filed under Contemporary, Hanover Square Press, Horror, John Fram, LGBT, Mystery, Rated B, Review, The Bright Lights

Review: The First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell

Title: The First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A young rookie medical examiner. A suspicious case. An underworld plot only she saw coming.

From the New York Times bestselling authors of Working Stiff

For San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past.

Instead she faces a chilling discovery when an opioid-overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie’s superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving drug dealers and Bitcoin brokers.

Drawing on her real-life experiences as a forensics expert, Judy Melinek teams up with husband T.J. Mitchell to deliver the most exhilarating mystery of the year. Autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all—even if it means that the next corpse on the table could be her own.


The First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell is a riveting mystery starring Medical Examiner Jessie Teska.

Dr. Jessie Teska is settling into her new position at the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office following her abrupt resignation in Los Angeles. She is smart, inquisitive and tenacious which are excellent qualities that are sometimes underappreciated by her new bosses Chief ME James Howe and Deputy Chief ME Michael Stone.

Jessie’s first cases are interesting yet somewhat puzzling.  Eugene Chen is  brutally gunned down after stealing a laptop which begs the question what was on the computer that was worth killing for. Nursing student Rebecca Corchero dies from an apparent overdose but Jessie is not convinced her death is as straight forward as it appears.  Certain there is more to both cases than first meets the eye, Jessie defies her bosses as she attempts to uncover the truth about these unsettling deaths.

Jessie is undaunted as she uncovers a promising lead in the Chen murder case. With her brother Tommy’s assistance, she provides Assistant District Attorney Anup Banerjee with new information that could help with his prosecution. However, the deeper Jessie digs, she unearths details that could possibly link to another victim that has recently  been examined in the San Francisco ME’s Office. Will the investigators and Banerjee follow up on her evidence?

Jessie is deeply troubled by Rebecca Corchero’s death. With no evidence the young woman is a drug user,  Jessie is reluctant to label the case an accidental overdose. She is disturbed by some of her autopsy findings and despite pressure from Stone, she continues trying to find answers to her lingering questions.  Jessie discovers startling details that send shockwaves through the ME office. But will Howe give her the opportunity to continue her investigation?

The First Cut is a well-written mystery with a clever storyline and engaging lead protagonist. Jessie is a flawed yet immensely appealing woman. The investigations are quite fascinating as they take very unexpected turns.  Although savvy readers might connect the dots before Jessie, Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell bring this innovative mystery to a twist-filled, realistic conclusion.  A brilliant fiction debut that will leave fans of the genre eagerly awaiting the next novel starring Dr. Jessie Teskas.

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Filed under Contemporary, Hanover Square Press, Judy Melinek, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The First Cut, TJ Mitchell

Review: One More Lie by Amy Lloyd

Title: One More Lie by Amy Lloyd
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Charlotte wants to start fresh. She wants to forget her past, forget prison and, most of all, forget Sean. But old habits die hard. Despite the ankle monitor she must wear as part of her parole agreement and frequent visits to her therapist, she soon finds herself sliding back toward the type of behavior that sent her to prison in the first place. The further down that path she goes, however, the closer she gets to the crime that put her in prison all those years ago. And that’s the one memory she can’t face. Until, one day, Sean tracks her down.

Amy Lloyd, the internationally bestselling and award-winning author of The Innocent Wife, returns with a chilling portrait of a woman trying to be good, even when she isn’t sure she wants to be.


One More Lie by Amy Lloyd is a suspenseful, character-driven mystery.

Charlotte Donaldson is on parole again and this time, she wants to make sure she does not endanger her freedom. Living in a halfway house and wearing an ankle monitor, she is uneasy in social situations. Due to her long time in institutions, Charlotte does not do well without a strict, regimented schedule. Despite her anxiety, she begins her new job and continues seeing her therapist, Dr. Evelyn Isherwood. The one thing Charlotte longs for and fears in equal measure is contact with her childhood friend, Sean. And when he does finally reach out to her, she begins a downward spiral that ends where all of her problems began. What will she do when the memories she has repressed for so long begin to surface? Is Charlotte prepared for the truth about the long buried truth about what happened when she was a child?

Charlotte is a mess pretty much as soon as she is reintegrates into society. She is awkward in social settings and she has no idea what the proper reaction is for many of the situations she finds herself in.  Reconnecting with Sean feeds into the stress she is experiencing and Charlotte makes a fateful decision that puts her on a collision course with disaster.

Sean is also out of prison again and he is not exactly living on the straight and narrow.  He cannot resist trying to locate Charlotte again and he will go to any lengths to find her.  Sean encourages her worst instincts but even he could not have predicted her reaction to the information she uncovers.

Weaving seamlessly back and forth in time, One More Lie is an absolutely addictive read that is impossible to put down.  The characters are well-developed with more than fair share of troubles. Charlotte is a sympathetic character as she tries to find her footing outside of an institution. Sean is quite flawed and his choices make it difficult to like him. The storyline is compelling and Amy Lloyd’s gradually parceling of the truth about Charlotte will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the novel’s shocking conclusion. A fantastic mystery that readers of the genre do not want to miss.

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Filed under Amy Lloyd, Contemporary, Hanover Square Press, Mystery, One More Lie, Rated B, Review, Suspense

Review: Soon the Light Will Be Perfect by Dave Patterson

Title: Soon the Light Will Be Perfect by Dave Patterson
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Two brothers brave a whirlwind summer in this taut and luminous coming-of-age novel

A twelve-year-old boy lives with his family in a small, poverty-stricken town in Vermont. His father works at a manufacturing plant, his mother is a homemaker, and his fifteen-year-old brother is about to enter high school. His family has gained enough financial stability to move out of the nearby trailer park, and as conflict rages abroad, his father’s job at a weapons manufacturing plant appears safe. But then his mother is diagnosed with cancer, and everything changes.

As the family clings to the traditions of their hard-line Catholicism, he meets Taylor, a perceptive, beguiling girl from the trailer park, a girl who has been forced to grow up too fast. Taylor represents everything his life isn’t, and their fledgling connection develops as his mother’s health deteriorates.

Set over the course of one propulsive summer, Soon the Light Will Be Perfect chronicles the journey of two brothers on the cusp of adulthood, a town battered by poverty and a family at a breaking point. In spare, fiercely honest prose, Dave Patterson captures what it feels like to be gloriously, violently alive at a moment of political, social and familial instability.


Soon the Light Will Be Perfect by Dave Patterson is a poignant coming of age novel set in rural Vermont in the late 1980s.

The twelve year old narrator, his fifteen year old brother and his parents have achieved enough financial security to move out of a trailer park and into a house. His father escaped a round of layoffs at a plant that manufactures weapons. His mom does not work outside the home but she is involved with local charities. His family is staunchly Catholic and they are very involved with their local parish. However, when his mother is diagnosed with cancer, he and his brother are left to care for themselves as she undergoes debilitating chemotherapy. During the course of her treatment, America enters the Gulf War but his father is worried when a situation at work jeopardizes his job.

As our narrator tries to make sense of his life, a growing divide between him and his brother leaves him to fend for himself.  Entering into puberty, he is confused and conflicted about his sudden awareness of girls. He is briefly befriended by Taylor, a teenage girl who lives with her mom and a constant parade of boyfriends. With the family’s strict religious background, the twelve year old does not understand why his prayers for his mother and their family are going unanswered.

Despite the somewhat bleak storyline, Soon the Light Will Be Perfect is a compelling novel about a family in crisis. This realistic depiction of the narrator’s struggles with puberty, faith, his mother’s illness, and economic uncertainly is heartbreaking. The novel has slightly ominous overtones due to the uncertainty of the mom’s health, the dad’s precarious job situation and the boys rebellious behavior. This engaging story concludes on a bit of a positive note that will leave readers hoping the family’s troubles are behind them. I truly enjoyed and highly recommend this excellent debut by Dave Patterson.

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Filed under All the Light Will Be Perfect, Contemporary, Dave Patterson, Fiction, Hanover Square Press, Rated B, Review