Short Takes

Short Takes: Book reviews, in brief

May 4, 2013 

Fiction

Along Came Twins

Rebecca Winters, Harlequin, 256 pages

Many times, readers get annoyed with fictional characters and wonder, “What would happen if they just communicated honestly with each other?”

Rebecca Winters answers that question with a refreshing story about a couple on the brink of a ruined marriage, who rally with a bit of that honest communication to save their love.

The story was brilliantly done. The tension and controversy with the relationship was mostly revealed in “Baby Out of the Blue,” the first in this two-part series. While the focus in that earlier story was on Kellie’s best friend, Fran, and her true love, Nik, the troubles with Kellie’s marriage to Leandros were exposed.

That meant this story could focus on the reconciliation.

In some ways, this was a 200-page ending, and it was fabulous. Most of the book was dedicated to Kellie and Leandros both discovering the other’s perceptions and regretting they had caused each other pain and sorrow.

And, of course, making that up to each other.

While Kellie was almost unlikable in the first book, her rough edges were smoothed in this book and she and Leandros were both likable.

This was a book dedicated to romance; there was no tension, no suspense. Just a lot of love.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

The Hit

David Baldacci, Grand Central, 392 pages

Will Robie, a government assassin seen in last year’s “The Innocent,” returns in a bigger and bolder adventure in David Baldacci’s new novel, “The Hit.”

Robie’s superiors know he’ll obey orders without question, so when one of his colleagues goes rogue, he’s given the task of termination.

Jessica Reel was ordered to assassinate a dictator, but she executed someone else. Robie has worked with Reel, so he’s considered the perfect candidate to bring her out of hiding and take her out. The more he digs – and the more targets she eliminates – the more Robie questions his orders.

Conspiracy novels aren’t new, government traitors aren’t original and a killer hired to take out another killer has been used countless times. But Baldacci puts a fresh spin on the cliches, and the result is the best Baldacci novel in years. Robie is an assassin with ethics, and the nonstop action and twists help move the story along.

What makes “The Hit” live up to its title is the payoff at the novel’s end. By then, Baldacci has planted an emotional hook that remains long after readers have turned the last page of the book.

Associated Press

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