cover image Hat Trick

Hat Trick

Lisa Kusel, . . Hyperion, $22.95 (356pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6923-7

A love triangle finally gets resolved on the exotic island of Zanzibar. Successful magazine writer Peter Beckett is there to interview a movie star on location, but his real mission is to persuade the film's producer, Mona Stern, to put an end to their occasional trysts and get serious. Peter's already married and a father, but he's been obsessed with ambitious, edgy Mona for two decades, including that brief period when he dated her high school best friend, sweet, sincere Hannah Pearce. Hannah, who hasn't spoken to Mona in 18 years, is also in Zanzibar, scouting merchandise for her Northern California trinket store and dodging her well-meaning boyfriend's campaign for marriage and kids. When Mona and Hannah bump into each other on the street, they attempt an awkward reconciliation, and all three meet one evening for drinks by the ocean. To complicate matters further, shortly before leaving for Zanzibar, Mona received a visit from the son she gave up for adoption, who may be Peter's. Despite the soap opera overtures and a coffee vs. tea reductionism of Mona and Hannah, Kusel (Other Fish in the Sea ) manages to keep her story aimed at self-acceptance, female friendship and the art of apology. Agent, Brian DeFiore. (July)