By Catherine Kast ROBIN MICHELI and KYLE SMITH
Updated January 28, 2013 12:00 PM
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The Good House

by Ann Leary |

REVIEWED BY ROBIN MICHELI

NOVEL

Hildy Good is 60, divorced and the top real estate broker in the small town on Boston’s North Shore where she’s lived all her life. Chatting to the reader like a conspiratorial friend, she can be wicked funny, as the locals might say, even when recounting the intervention and subsequent month in rehab arranged by her two grown daughters. When she begins drinking again, her wit-and the novel’s-endure, but in Leary’s immersive rendering the humor’s lighthearted sheen begins washing away. Leary (comedian Denis’s wife and the author of Outtakes from a Marriage) doesn’t just tell Hildy’s story, she lets Hildy communicate it unawares as she engages in a giddy but dangerous dance with her addiction. Several delicious elements enliven the story: Descended from a Salem witch, Hildy has mastered the parlor trick of “reading” people, knows all the town’s secrets-including the truth about a young socialite’s extramarital affair-and may be rekindling a romance of her own. Leary even manages to create heart-thumping suspense as the narrative nears its conclusion. Fresh, sharp and masterfully told, Hildy’s tale is as intoxicating as it is sobering.

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Truth in Advertising

by John Kenney

REVIEWED BY KYLE SMITH

NOVEL

Finbar Dolan is one of the Mad Men-and the sad men. A hotshot writer at a New York ad agency, he’s still wrecked about having cancelled his wedding. His mother committed suicide, and he never talks to his siblings-one of whom has just called to say their estranged father is dying. Sound hilarious? Actually, it is-ad exec Kenney has many a snarky tale to tell about his trade, though the dramatic portions can feel self-pitying. Still, this is a lively debut that has “movie deal” written all over it.

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