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THE 6:20 MAN

What fun! This is a winner from a pro.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller

A complex, high-powered thriller that will keep the reader guessing.

Former U.S. Army Ranger Travis Devine regularly takes the 6:20 commuter train to a job he hates at Cowl and Comely, the New York firm where he is an investment analyst. He's one of many “Burners,” or interns, who slave 80 hours a week and more for low pay in hopes of not being fired at the end of the year. Devine works there to appease his father, who had despised his son’s choice to serve his country instead of immediately going out and getting rich like his two older siblings. The morning train passes by the home of Cowl, whom the Burners are making richer and richer. Passengers get daily unfettered views of a gorgeous bikinied woman at Cowl’s swimming pool. She seems oblivious to the yearning gazes of the male commuters. Then, one morning at work, Devine receives an anonymous, untraceable text saying, “She is dead.” None of his fellow Burners received it. “She” is Sara Ewes, a colleague with whom he had once had sex. How could anyone know? It was a secret because dating within the company was a fireable offense. Apparently, she had hanged herself in the building. At home, Devine has interesting roommates, including a pizza-loving, Russia-born male computer hacker; a woman who's building a dating website with phenomenal potential; and another woman who has recently graduated from law school. The Russian tries and fails to track the source of the text for Devine. More people die at the company, naturally freaking everyone out. Devine is a suspect, but a retired Army general protects him—for a price. Devine must help them unravel a secret at the company, and if he refuses, they will “send my ass right to USDB” (United States Disciplinary Barracks) for an act he had committed while in the Army. Readers will suspect nearly everyone in this fast-moving whodunit. Clues abound, like the color of a bathing suit and mysterious references to Waiting for Godot. A great line states that diversity in the high finance world looks like “a jar of Miracle Whip all the way to the bottom.”

What fun! This is a winner from a pro.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1984-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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THEN SHE WAS GONE

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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