A somber, disturbing mystery fused with a scathing look at the fashion industry.


From the Visage series , Vol. 1

A monk reenters his old Manhattan life, where his family’s multimillion-dollar fashion empire may have ties to his former girlfriend’s murder, in Mangin’s debut thriller.

Someone kidnaps former top model Ava Germaine and drapes her in a “skin coat”—made from the skin of a human corpse—for a Fashion Week runway. St. Joseph’s Abbey later receives a bloody package addressed to Cecil LeClaire, the name one of its monks formerly used. Inside is a hand and a bracelet Cecil identifies as having belonged to Annabelle Leigh, his girlfriend who vanished a decade ago when they were both 14. Popular media theories include that Margaux was somehow involved in Annabelle’s abduction or that Cecil, heir to his mother Margaux’s LeClaire Model Management, killed Annabelle. Believing the “skin coat” was made from Annabelle’s skin, which a doctor eventually verifies, Cecil returns to New York to bury his past before taking his solemn vows. It’s quickly apparent that the teen models living in LeClaire Mansion are not living well, perpetually hungry and not allowed to leave without supervision. But Cecil soon suspects that a mysterious, fashion-affiliated person called VD is Annabelle’s killer and that Margaux may somehow be involved. He teams up with Ava to infiltrate VD-associated Quirk Model Management and discovers a world of sordidness, where maltreated women are mere products. Mangin’s relentlessly grim story takes a dim view of the modeling industry, noting a “model’s job was to play dead,” with 24-year-old Ava designating herself as “a really old hag.” Numerous characters are either unpleasant or flawed; Cecil mostly abides by his vows but has an obvious romantic interest in celebrated fashion designer Tazia Perdonna, who happens to be his godmother. Ava’s eccentricity, however, is a bright spot: She cares for a pet rat and tries to pass off movie plots as her personal history. Mangin writes in a confident, razor-edged style in a book with genuinely engaging elements, from VD to the perils of young female models.

A somber, disturbing mystery fused with a scathing look at the fashion industry.

Pub Date: July 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73455-341-3

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Visage Media LLC

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2020

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.


Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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