A smart, suspenseful tale about love, betrayal, and the illusion of happiness.


A middle-aged British woman invites an old friend for an open-ended visit, wreaking chaos in her own family, in this twisty domestic thriller.

Melanie Harrison is startled to receive an email from Abigail Curtiz, a woman she lost touch with nearly two decades earlier. Abi’s email explains that she is in the midst of an ugly divorce, and she would like to reconnect. Melanie and Abi have led very different lives in the years since they lost touch. Melanie quit school to raise the baby she had at age 19, while Abi found professional success and moved to California with her handsome, wealthy husband. Abi’s Hollywood life was enviable until she caught her husband cheating with a younger woman. When Melanie learns the circumstances of the divorce, she feels compelled to provide sanctuary for Abi and invites her for a visit. Melanie is proud of the turns her own life has taken and looks forward to showing off her good luck to her friend. She's married to a wonderful man named Ben, with whom she's had two adorable children. Unfortunately, once Abi moves her suitcase into the Harrisons’ spare room, Melanie’s picture-perfect life begins to disintegrate. Ben is suddenly irritable all the time, and Melanie finds herself falling under Abi’s indescribable spell, drinking, gossiping, and shirking her responsibilities. As Abi’s stay draws on, secrets begin to emerge in the Harrison house and tensions rise until so much of Melanie’s life begins to feel precarious. Melanie’s attempts to impress her old friend could end up destroying the life she has worked so hard to create. Told from multiple perspectives in witty and often conversational prose, the story starts jauntily enough but becomes increasingly ominous. The author builds suspense by exposing the holes in ostensibly strong character relationships, creating an addictive page-turner as readers wait for the other shoe to drop over and again. Although many plot points could be deemed predictable, there are enough surprises to keep readers aggressively engaged. Full of details about life in the suburbs of London, the story is full of emotional insights about parenting, marriage, and personal legacies.

A smart, suspenseful tale about love, betrayal, and the illusion of happiness.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7783-6921-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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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. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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