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Square in the Face: A Claire Montrose Mystery Mass Market Paperback – March 6, 2001

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Henry's follow-up to last year's Circles of Confusion finds the clever, feisty Claire Montrose helping a friend, Lori Estrada, whose three-year-old son, Zach, has leukemia. Before Lori married, she gave birth to a daughter she then gave up for adoption. Lori asks Claire to find the girl, who may be the only genetic match for a bone-marrow transplant to save Zach. So Claire returns from a visit to New York and her lover, Dante, a curator at the Met, and fakes a pregnancy to enter the Bradford Clinic, where Lori's daughter was born. There, the mysterious Dr. Bradford provides financial and medical assistance to pregnant women who will relinquish their babies for private adoption. Claire locates Lori's records and four possible adoptive couples. Eventually she and her housemate, Charlie, an 80-year-old WWII refugee, hone the list to one--reclusive movie stars Amanda and Kurt Price. Then Claire is threatened. Is she proving dangerous to Bradford Clinic operations? Or is the problem her invasion of the Prices' privacy? She finally convinces the Prices to cooperate, but tests show that their daughter isn't Zach's sister. Undaunted, Claire returns to the clinic. Henry writes an absorbing and at times moving mystery with a lively heroine who is never really in danger and venal villains who are easily dispatched. Claire's bicoastal romance with Dante still must be resolved, but that's for another book. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Claire Montrose, formerly with Oregon's specialty license plate department (Circles of Confusion), tries to locate the daughter her best friend had given up for adoption but now needs for a possible bone-marrow transplant. Claire investigates an expensive-but-shady adoption clinic, worries over the disappearance of a pregnant informant, conducts surveillance on four likely adoptive families with her concentration camp survivor friend, Charlotte, and somehow maintains a cross-country romance with New York City museum curator Dante. Agreeable prose, a steadily engaging plot, and a few vanity plate puzzlers thrown in for good measure make this a recommended purchase.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (March 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061097160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061097164
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,104,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

When I was 11, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He took it to lunch and showed it to the editor of a British children's magazine - and she asked to publish the story! (For no money, which might have been a warning about how hard it is to make a living writing.)

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years - when I wrote a book a year, worked full time, and had a baby - are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 15 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been chosen for IndieNext, translated into eight languages and won awards in several states. And Face of Betrayal, which I co-wrote with Lis Wiehl, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.

I have also reviewed literary fiction, YA literature, and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

In 2014, look for two books: The Body in the Woods, the first in the Point Last Seen series, and A Deadly Business, co-written with Lis Wiehl.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Claire was once a drone working in the Oregon Specialty License Plate Department. Her job was to approve vanity plates. When she received a special inheritance (see CIRCLE OF CONFUSION), she quit. Now, Claire only does things that interest her. At the moment, she searches for the daughter of a friend, Lori who gave away her child through the private adoption services of the infamous Bradford Clinic.

Lori's son suffers from leukemia and will probably need a bone marrow transplant. Lori, her husband, and their other son prove unsuitable matches. Claire quickly learns that Dr. Bradford wants to make money from his questionable placement service. Helping people in trouble is not important to the avarice healer. Claire checks into the clinic as a patient and finds a ledger that includes a page with the information Lori needs. Unfortunately there are many potential entries that could prove to be Lori's daughter. As the clock ticks, Claire desperately continues her inquiries to save a dying boy.

Claire goes way beyond what a person can expect of a friend. She proves just how big her heart really is by taking by taking risks that most people would refuse regardless of the bond. Thus, Claire makes the novel and the series with her deeply caring nature. April Henry surrounds her heroine with a heart-wrenching tale of a family in crisis inside the mystery. SQUARE IN THE FACE will appeal to amateur sleuth fans as well as those readers who enjoy a family drama. Ms. Henry has written a triumphant novel that will gain her much esteem from readers who relish the works of such notables like Adler and Plain.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "mysteriouswomen" on March 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Square in the Face by April Henry is the second in the Claire Montrose mysteries. It's a heart grabber when Claire starts looking for a matching marrow donor for an old friend's dying son. In the meantime Claire's mother is buying everything her new best friends on TV's home shopping network are selling. Lots of family secrets! This is a wonderful story with terrific characters. I loved Charlie, Claire's roommate. It is fun watching Claire rediscover her family, too. Humor, a little love interest, lots of intrigue, and some sad history, too. As with any mystery, the 'bad guys' leave their mark but our Claire is not going to let them get away with it. This is a strong follow-up to Henry's first book, Circles of Confusion, and moves this series onto my 'must buy' list. April Henry is a sharp young writer with ever-increasing skills, a superb imagination, and the wit to use them well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martha E. Crites on July 14, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When a friend's son needs a bone marrow transplant, she asks Claire Montrose to help her find a lost daughter. Claire feigns pregnancy to gain entrance to a secret and expensive adoption agency. There, she learns of terrible secrets the doctor is willing to kill for. The clock is ticking for the friend's son and Claire tracks down the families who may have adopted the daughter. Claire is an engaging character who, at times, seems unaware of her beauty and wit. She's a regular gal who feels out of place with her new boyfriend's high society pals. This is the second of the series and loses a little focus as the author pulls threads from the last book, which are a little diluted in this story. None the less, very readable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michele Garcia on March 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Square in the Face is April Henry's second book which gives her readers another exciting and interesting look into the life of Claire Montrose. Claire is a former employee of the state of Oregon. Fortunately, for her, she has escaped the drudgery of state employment and now has time to enjoy life, her handsome boyfriend, and to help a friend, and former co-worker, who has a really big problem. Little does Claire know when she says that she will help, that she will find herself smack in the middle of a very dangerous undertaking. April Henry does a great job making Claire and her adventures real. And the really fun thing about April's book is how readily the reader can identify with Claire. If you're look for a fun read with some real life drama, this is the book for you. Sit back, relax, and prepare to have a really enjoyable visit with a very interesting and engaging young woman.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bobbijo Smith on April 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This latest book by April Henry is a quick and easy read. An excellent book for an airplane trip or the beach. Slightly better than her first book Circles of Confusion, Square in the Face still lacks the depth and "completion" to be a "great" mystery. There are trails leading in all directions and not all of the answers are forthcoming. Still, this book is fun entertainment and worthy of a relaxing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Circles of Confusion, Ms. Henry's first book with heroine Claire Montrose, who worked in the vanity license plate division of the Oregon DMV, and I liked Square in the Face every bit as much. This book is more serious and heartfelt in its themes than Circles and a little less romantic. The mystery is good, the suspense builds nicely, and I challenge you to find a more enjoyable sleuth than Claire Montrose. Great book in a great series. I can't wait for the next one.
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