Despite leaving a trail of death, Tibbets is a sympathetic character. Like a flawed Jack Reacher, he provides all the...

RUNNING HOMELESS

An amnesiac searches for answers about the people he’s executed.

John Tibbets awakens in New Mexico with no memory of why he killed six drug lords and the FBI team sent to extract him. FBI agent Richard Cone is working with Tibbets’ former partner Ben Freeman in an attempt to catch Tibbets, who despite his amnesia has not forgotten the skills that keep him ahead of those desperate to catch him. Cone learns that Tibbets works for a super-secret government agency that specializes in assassinations. The agency has used drugs and mind control to get Tibbets to kill people and then forget what he did. This time, he’d been stashed in a California homeless shelter. Now that he’s loose in New Mexico, he slowly starts to remember bits and pieces of his past. As he follows his memories, dead bodies pile up behind him. When at length he recalls that he was proclaimed a hero in New York City for rescuing a police officer (Walking Homeless, 2010, etc.), he makes his way to the policeman’s uncle, Howard Taft, a retired NYPD captain willing to help Tibbets in order to protect his own family. Together they scheme to keep ahead of the government agents long enough for Tibbets to regain his memory and get answers to his many questions.

Despite leaving a trail of death, Tibbets is a sympathetic character. Like a flawed Jack Reacher, he provides all the excitement of a first-class thriller.

Pub Date: July 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4328-2538-6

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

Art forgery! False identities! Adultery! Murder! But in the end, sadly, it’s more melodrama than true thriller.

THE NANNY

When a skull is discovered in the lake by a manor house, a 30-year-old mystery comes to light.

When Jo’s husband dies suddenly, she reluctantly brings her 10-year-old daughter, Ruby, home to Lake Hall. Despite the seeming affluence of her aristocratic family, Jo’s memories of her childhood are mostly unhappy, especially after her beloved nanny, Hannah, left under mysterious circumstances. Despite her mother’s frosty warnings, Jo takes Ruby out on the lake one day, and they unearth a human skull. The detective who comes to investigate has a chip on his shoulder about the upper class and would like nothing better than to prove the village rumors that the Holt family has casually disposed of inconvenient bodies throughout the years. Jo’s mother knows exactly to whom the skull belongs—and she wants to keep the truth from Jo as long as possible. Jo herself suspects it might belong to Hannah, who never would have left her voluntarily—but then suddenly, out of the blue, a handsome older woman turns up on their doorstep, claiming to be Hannah. No one is quite sure what to believe, but Jo, desperately wanting to rekindle the closeness she once had with Hannah and chafing against the coldness of her mother, invites the woman into her home to help care for Ruby—a mistake, we know, of catastrophic proportions. Macmillan (I Know You Know, 2018, etc.) strives to create a gothic atmosphere, but the setting falls short of true creepiness. Her decision to switch narrators does add layers to the story, but the voices all seem to tell more than they show, and no character is sympathetic enough, or charismatic enough, to really draw the reader into the mystery.

Art forgery! False identities! Adultery! Murder! But in the end, sadly, it’s more melodrama than true thriller.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-287555-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more