Fiction, March 15, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

Readers who enjoyed Fay’s previous works will find much to love here; decadently delicious for historical fiction and historical mystery readers; this warmhearted novel will appeal to those who like reading about women’s lives and relationships; perfect for fans of Star Trek, military space fiction, and flawed heroes

Week ending March 15, 2019

Fay, Juliette. City of Flickering Light. Gallery: S. & S. Apr. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9781501192944. $26; pap. ISBN 9781501192937. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501192951. F
Author Fay (The Tumbling Turner Sisters) transports readers to 1920s Hollywood with three engaging characters. They meet in a traveling burlesque show and run away together to Hollywood to try their hand at the “flickers.” It’s 1921 and silent movies are all the rage. Irene Van Beck is the sensible one, Millie Martin is a flighty beauty, and Henry Weiss is multitalented. They must navigate the often brutal process of breaking into the film industry and forging their own path. After a time of not getting any acting opportunities, Irene changes tack and gets into the typing pool, then, with some luck, she starts writing scripts. Millie in particular has a hard go of it and must deal with an assault and its consequences. Drugs flow free and easy in Tinseltown, further complicating her return to work. Henry becomes a leading man, but his life changes as he realizes that he is homosexual. He does find true love, but heartache lies ahead.
VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Fay’s previous works will find much to love here, as will those who appreciate well-drawn characters and vibrant historical backdrops.—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX

redstarHarris, C.S. Who Slays the Wicked. Berkley. (Sebastian St. Cyr, Bk. 14). Apr. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9780399585654. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399585661. MYS
The wicked slain in this 14th St. Cyr investigation (after Why Kill the Innocent) begins with the privileged, unindicted villain of the 12th entry (Where the Dead Lie) finally getting his comeuppance: Lord Ashworth, a sexual sadist, is found naked, tied to his own bed, and hacked to death. No one mourns the victim—not his relieved widow and certainly not Sebastian St. Cyr. St. Cyr must investigate to keep the widow, his niece Stephanie, from being accused of a crime for which she had plenty of motive. But the list of possible murderers stretches from the Royal Palace to the shopkeepers Ashworth stiffed to the contract killer he refused to pay. As the bodies pile up, so do the attempts to derail the investigation, as no one wants to discover where it leads. St. Cyr, searching for justice as a way to exorcise his own demons, protect his niece, and stop the killing spree, discovers the truth in a place that no one expected—or wants to go.
VERDICT This series is decadently delicious for historical fiction and historical mystery readers and is highly recommended for anyone who loves a conflicted hero, or who enjoys poking into dark places both high and low. [See Prepub Alert, 10/8/18.]—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC, Atlanta

Morgan, Sarah. One Summer in Paris. HQN: Harlequin. Apr. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9781335507549. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488096518. F
At 18, free spirit Audrey impulsively moves to Paris without knowing a word of French; she meets Grace, who offers to teach her, and in turn she gives the jilted fortysomething Grace a makeover and urges her to embrace the unknown and connect with an old lover. The two floundering women form an unlikely friendship while navigating their love lives and bonding over family problems, including the shared hardship of having an alcoholic mother. Morgan (Sleepless in Manhattan) creates a heartwarming plot that stays light in tone even as these two strong women face major life decisions. Audrey is an especially delightful, lively character with a tough exterior but vulnerable core; both she and Grace grow and change throughout this novel, which is told in their alternating viewpoints, with a few chapters from the perspective of a third character, Mimi.
VERDICT The Paris setting, with only some references to French food, does not come to life, but this warmhearted novel will appeal to those who like reading about women’s lives and relationships with positive messages about family and friendship.—Sonia Reppe, Stickney–Forest View P.L., IL

Watson, Felicia. We Have Met the Enemy. D.X. Varos. Apr. 2019. 260p. ISBN 9781941072370. pap. $17.95. SF
In the year 3038, Unititerrae, humankind’s home world, has been at war with the “Eternals” for more than 200 years. Lt. Naiche Decker, a Chiricahua descendant, and her partner Kayatennae, a blue healer mix, have been asked by her closest friend Lieutenant Kennedy to join a long-range reconnaissance mission of a year or more to locate the source of humankind’s deadliest, most insidious foe. Decker is reluctant to apply. She knows the Captain, and her reputation is well-known to him. But Decker would do anything for Kennedy, so she applies. Kennedy uses his clout to get her accepted. As the ship makes its way through unknown space, the crew grow closer. Sparks fly as tempers and romances flourish or fizzle. This foray into space opera by Watson ( Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela) offers a cohesive overarching tale presented in miniature episodes.
VERDICT Perfect for fans of Star Trek, military space fiction, and flawed heroes. Devotees of Gene Roddenberry’s many series in particular will recognize numerous nods and be left wanting more.—Elizabeth Masterson, Mecklenburg Cty. Jail Lib., Charlotte, NC

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