Who will outfox whom?
Romantic Thriller: Mega-bestselling author Sandra Brown’s latest hit is Outfox (Grand Central Publishing, $28), featuring FBI agent Drex Easton who thinks he has finally found the elusive serial killer that he’s devoted his life to bringing to justice.
Posing as a writer, Easton moves in next door to Jasper Ford and his charming wife, Talia, and tries to gather evidence to link Ford to a series of murders involving wealthy women over several decades. Easton’s personal attraction to Talia, however, may cloud his judgment and put her and other women at risk for their lives.
Who will outfox whom? Brown weaves a tale of intrigue and action and, of course, there are a few steamy bedroom scenes and a surprising twist at the end.
Outcast Girls: Julie Kibler, who had a big hit in 2013 with her debut novel, Calling Me Home, has written a new novel based on a home for unwed mothers and other desperate young women in Arlington, Texas, at the turn of the twentieth century.
Home for Erring and Outcast Girls (Crown, $27 hardcover) is based on the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls, founded as a ministry in 1903 and closed in 1935 near what is now the University of Texas at Arlington.
Kibler’s story is fiction but is based on real characters who lived at, or operated, the home. Their stories are woven together by Cate, a fictional librarian at UTA who delves into boxes of records stored in the university’s special collections department. As Cate fleshes out the lives of Lizzie and Docie Bates and Mattie McBride, she also has to confront dark secrets from her own past.
Courtroom Drama: Brownsville attorney Carlos Cisneros has written his fourth legal thriller, The Paper Lawyer (Arte Publico Press, $19.95 paperback), that ranks right up there with John Grisham.
Camila Harrison, an Austin real-estate lawyer with a prestigious firm, finds herself having to start over in Houston, as a court-appointed attorney working her first criminal case in federal court involving an undocumented Mexican accused of money laundering.
She is advised to get him to make a plea deal quickly, and then she can move on to the next one. But as she uncovers some improprieties in his arrest, she tenaciously sets out against all odds to get him freed to return home to his dying daughter in Mexico, despite her lack of experience in the courtroom.
This was the first of Cisneros’s novels that I’ve read, but it’s a real page-turner and raises troubling questions about race and prejudice in the legal system.