Perfect reading for socially distanced shut-ins who’ll be pleased to learn that things could indeed be much, much worse.

THE REVELATORS

Tibbehah County Sheriff Quinn Colson’s 10th appearance finds him hard-pressed to keep his patch of Mississippi in line after his near-fatal shooting in The Shameless (2019) sidelines him in favor of an acting sheriff who’s worse than no help at all.

How much worse? Well, when Quinn’s 12-year-old nephew, Jason, goes AWOL along with his schoolmate Ana Gabriel Hernandez-Ramirez to accept an unsavory invitation to follow the trail of Ana’s mother, one of 53 undocumented workers from the local chicken processing plant rounded up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Brock Tanner won’t issue an Amber Alert. It’s clear that Tanner is uncomfortably cozy with grasping madam Fannie Hathcock, “the queen hellcat of north Mississippi”; with J.K. Vardaman, the good-old-boy governor who’s never met a graft he wouldn’t latch onto; and with the Watchmen, a militia looking to boost their stockpile of weapons. Tanner’s deputies harass Quinn’s kid sister, Caddy, and go even further with activist Hector Herrera. The ongoing battle is complicated this time by the release of Donnie Varner from the prison where he’s served eight years for dealing guns. Readers waiting to see whether he’ll renew his friendship with Quinn, find romance with his old flame Caddy, or end up brokering a massive arms deal for the Watchmen will be treated to another bracing immersion in Tibbehah County’s teeming criminal culture, whose opportunistic alliances between bad guys and the lawmen sworn to protect them would be outrageous if they weren’t utterly routine.

Perfect reading for socially distanced shut-ins who’ll be pleased to learn that things could indeed be much, much worse.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53949-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A moody tone hangs like a cloud over the alarming but vague danger awaiting the world.

THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD

A tragedy has sent a young artist into seclusion. A potential apocalypse may be enough to bring her back.

For the past two years, 10 months, and 18 days, Katie’s lived in darkness, on retreat from her former life as a rising artist after a personal tragedy eclipsed any happiness she believed possible. Jacob’s Ladder, a remote island named by a former resident for its potential as a stairway to heaven, offers Katie the chance to hide from the rest of the world, merely existing, not healing. She lives each day trying to fulfill what she’s called “the Promise” to those in the life she once knew, though a promise of what is not clear. The closest neighboring islands, Oak Haven and Ringrock, are equally cloistered. Though Katie’s realtor has suggested that Ringrock is some sort of Environmental Protection Agency research station, Katie’s cynicism makes her suspect something more nefarious. The protagonist's remote world and the author’s moody writing are disrupted one night by the startling appearance of drones and the suspicious behavior of a fox Katie’s dubbed Michael J. The wary canine serves as a harbinger of potential danger, and Katie responds by arming herself to the hilt when unexpected guests descend on Jacob’s Ladder. While the true purpose of these visitors is unclear, Katie senses that the greater world is at the precipice of permanent collapse and that she may be the only one who can prevent the impending apocalypse.

A moody tone hangs like a cloud over the alarming but vague danger awaiting the world.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-6625-0044-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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

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FAIRY TALE

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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