Jul 2 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Marie Harte’s Just the Thing (July 4, 2017)

Just the Thing by Marie Harte

Marie Harte
Just the Thing (The Donnigans #2)
Sourcebooks / July 4, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital 

For the Donnigans their prank wars are now in full swing. It was a family tradition. Not only do you need to out prank the competition, you also need to unmask your prankster so you know who to keep an eye on (and who to retaliate against). 

In Marie Harte’s latest, Just the Thing, middle son, Gavin has just returned from combat on a medical discharge. He needed something to focus on besides his time at the gym and the friends he lost in combat.  Gavin has always been the most laid back of the Donnigan siblings. He was always friendly with a ready smile and a joke, but since returning home, Gavin has been overwhelmed by grief and survivor guilt.  He was starting to drown his pain with booze and women but no more.  He is trying to rescue himself from that emotional spiral. Therapy is helping but it is not enough. A distraction is needed. Time to bring on the pranks.

The war had most definitely resumed. A Donnigan family tradition—pranking on each other until someone cried.  Well, it wouldn’t be him.  And now he had a valid excuse to retaliate on one unlucky Donnigan.  Hell yeah.  He just had to figure out which one of them pulled this stunt.

With families as competitive as the Donnigans, everyone one is in on the pranks, including Mom and Dad.  And let’s not forget bringing in the future generations.  When Gavin is pranked into babysitting seven-year-old cousin, Colin, he realizes it is time for the young man to get his elementary education in payback.

“Wow.  That’s pretty good.”  Colin seemed impressed.  “So how are we going to trick your family?  Aunt Linda and Uncle Van, too?  Can we do my uncles and aunts when we’re done with them?”  So bloodthirsty.  Gavin liked him.

“Oh, all of them, kid.  They deserve no mercy.”

Even a wedding seems to be fair game for prank wars and when little sister, Hope, tries to get Gavin to protect her honor against the bruisers who work at Del’s body shop, Gavin tries to turn the tables on her quickly and mercilessly. 

While getting one over on your siblings gives you the warm fuzzies, nothing seems quite as sweet as dragging your parents into the prank war to end all prank wars, especially when you can convince your new girlfriend to join the war at your side.

Gavin must have felt her tense, because he turned her to face him.  “What’s wrong?”

“Not much.”  She smiled between her teeth. “Just practicing to be pregnant for my boyfriend’s parents, whom I’ve never met.”

“Oh, that.” He shrugged. “You’ll do fine.”  He rang the doorbell.  “Remember, act natural.  Scared and pregnant, but infatuated with me.”

“That’s a lot of acting.”

If you want to join the Donnigan gang, you better be ready to bring it.  There are no rules in prank wars and no mercy.  Everything is fair game so long as no one gets hurt, and shaved heads and orange hair dye technically doesn’t hurt.


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Just the Thing by Marie Harte, available July 4, 2017:

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Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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1 comment
1. Kareni
Thanks for the First Look. This looks like an entertaining read.
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