A beautiful, young mob assassin is about to eliminate an old legendary one. “Even the most ruthless of killers cower and turn into weeping pups once they realize their time on this planet is about to be cut short. But not Lover Boy.”
The ensuing stare-down between the two killers in the opening pages of Stephen Kronwith’s Lover Girl reveals a stunning truth and triggers a series of events that make the author’s sequel to his debut, Lover Boy, another gem.
It would be too easy — and too cliché — to say Kronwith has done it again (even if he has!). Back in January, we called Lover Boy sharp, witty and wildly entertaining. It focused on Dr. Joseph Peck, an ophthalmologist obsessed with sex, greed and more sex. His vices fed a perfectly crafted plot with colorful characters and outrageous actions.
PAST CHARACTERS HAVE NEW ROLES
Peck is back in a kinder, gentler role in Lover Girl, but this is not his moment. That belongs to the gorgeous Angelica Fortuna, raised in a crime family, educated in the finer points of murder and elevated to primary family assassin with all the angst that comes with it.
“I always found it the height of hypocrisy,” she says, “how the Don and his henchmen, including myself, would kneel, cross themselves, pray in church on Sunday and then proceed to maim, addict and kill their fellow men the rest of the week.”
She is given the assignment by the family Don (who happens to be her father) with killing Sammy “Lover Boy” Vivino as revenge for sleeping with the Don’s wife (whom Sammy loved and respected in their brief interlude). But on the brink of the hit, Sammy realizes that Angelica is actually his biological daughter. By not following through with her job, Angelica and Sammy both understand their days are numbered.
Now, cut to the married couple Jane Rieger and Anna Franklin. Both were notable in Book One, Anna for arranging to have her wealthy and wife-abusing husband murdered and Jane, a local detective, for playing a huge role in resolving the case. Now, the dead husband’s former business partner needs to pay off a gambling debt and alerts his tormentors to a small fortune of diamonds in Anna’s possession that might provide the means of settling up.
And what of our good Dr. Peck? It seems he has turned a moral corner and that his sexploit days are over when he falls in love with Angelica, seeing her only as Sammy’s daughter and not knowing her real vocation.
A SELF-CONTAINED SEQUEL
Okay, Kronwith has done it again. There, I said it! He has brought back some of his lovable characters from Book One, added a cast of new ones and continued his knack for pulling loose threads into a cohesive plot that ties up nicely. Even though the word “lover” appears in both titles, the author has interjected more true love in his latest work.
You don’t need to read Lover Boy first to follow and enjoy Lover Girl — Kronwith labored to make each book self-contained. But it would be logical to start at the beginning. And with plenty of storylines ripe for further development, by the time you catch up, a third installment could be hitting the shelves.
I can tell you without hesitation I’ll be picking that one up on launch day — if not sooner.
You can purchase Lover Girl here.
A “Lover Boy” and Murder Mayhem