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EXTINCTION

Fast-moving fun and a highly creative plot.

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Bloody murder spoils folks’ fun while megafauna return from extinction.

What a glorious way to spend a honeymoon: Mark and Olivia Gunnerson go backpacking through the vast Erebus Resort in the mountains of Colorado, where scientists have “de-extincted” species like the woolly mammoth and other Pleistocene megafauna. Just watch the peaceful beasts at their watering holes. Behold the giant armadillos, and the indricothere that make mammoths look like dwarfs. The scientists have removed genes for aggression in these re-creations, so humans will be safe unless they’re accidentally stepped on. And yet, someone doesn’t want the newlyweds camping there, made evident by their disappearance without a trace, save only a copious amount of blood outside their tent. Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent in Charge Frankie Cash takes the case. What happened to Mark and Olivia, and why? The park has no predators, so humans must be responsible. But where are the bodies? A doctor suggests that due to the amount of blood found, the victims may have—gasp!—been decapitated. The matter gathers national attention, and things only get worse as more people die. The late groom’s aggrieved billionaire father demands immediate answers, and of course he interferes with the investigation: “You’ll see me now, you son of a bitch, and tell me what the fuck you’re doing to find my son!” And speaking of F-bombs, surely it is possible to write a thriller with fewer—maybe use one or two to establish a character and then move on to more creative language? Anyway, the investigators are doing a lot. The action seldom lets up, and readers will feel the mounting tension and excitement. The setting itself is a scientific wonder, and it must tie into the murders somehow. Meanwhile, Hollywood is filming an action movie in the park, and the pièce de résistance will be the spectacular explosion of a train. But wouldn’t you know, Preston has other plans. Imagine Jurassic Park with the timeline brought forward to the Pleistocene, and you have the Erebus Resort. Science, imagination, storytelling, and action are all here.

Fast-moving fun and a highly creative plot.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780765317704

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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