A fast-paced and engaging political thriller.

THE POWER COUPLE

An FBI counterterrorism expert and an NSA coder search for their missing daughter in Barcelona.

Rebecca and Brian Unsworth, the married couple at the heart of Berenson’s latest breakneck thriller, lead far more exciting and important lives than most of us. She’s an ambitious FBI counterterrorism expert; he’s a laid-back coder for the National Security Agency who is ingenious enough to create an app in his spare time and sell it for a cool $2 million. That’s why the Unsworths can afford to spend their 20th wedding anniversary in Barcelona with their teenagers, Kira and Tony, looking forward to family time far from the daily grind of their high-pressure jobs. But Kira, a college student, has other plans. She sneaks off to meet an attractive stranger at a club, ignoring her midnight curfew and relying on parental relaxation to guarantee eventual forgiveness. But when she doesn’t return to the hotel, Rebecca and Brian are catapulted into a nightmare. Who kidnapped Kira—and why? And how can they hope to find her in another country, even with all their government connections? Berenson, who won an Edgar Award for his first novel, The Faithful Spy (2006), alternates points of view among Rebecca, Brian, and Kira, moving from past to present with ease and presenting a deeper look at a marriage that’s far more complicated that it seems on the surface. Yet even as it examines career jealousy and marital dissonance and draws intriguing portraits of its characters, this novel never forgets it’s primarily a thriller. The pace is unrelenting, and Berenson has a few twists in his arsenal. He also creates an engaging character in the brave and resourceful Kira, who is so much more than a helpless victim.

A fast-paced and engaging political thriller.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982103-69-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A high-octane thriller whose hero is tossed into one impossible situation after another. Best started early in the morning.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETTS

A hypernormal suburban family’s trip home from their daughter’s field hockey game leads them down a rabbit hole of criminal complications.

For some reason—maybe just because it’s a Mercedes—a pair of gunslingers pick court reporter Jason Bennett’s ride to carjack as he drives along a quiet road with his wife, photographer Lucinda, and their teenagers, Allison and Ethan. In the scuffle that follows, one of the carjackers is shot along with Allison, who dies in the hospital. Wait, it gets worse. A pair of FBI agents knocks on the Bennetts’ door at 3 a.m. to tell them that John Milo, the escaped carjacker, has framed Jason for the murder of his accomplice, George Veria Jr., in order to save himself from the wrath of Junior’s father, the kingpin of the George Veria Organization. Time is of the essence, the agents assure Jason and Lucinda: They have to leave their house and their old lives behind right now and go into the witness protection program. Sure enough, minutes after the three shellshocked Bennetts allow themselves to be driven off, a representative of the GVO sets fire to their house and follows up with a similar fire at Jason's office, and Lucinda’s office is vandalized. Warned off social media, the Bennetts can only watch helplessly as their friends and neighbors issue pleas for them to get in touch and self-styled “citizen detective” Bryan Krieger decides to launch his own freelance investigation, fueled by slanderous innuendo. Every time Jason thinks he’s finally got the situation figured out, Scottoline tosses in explosive new complications in the most relentless of all her mysteries.

A high-octane thriller whose hero is tossed into one impossible situation after another. Best started early in the morning.

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-53967-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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A compelling take on the classic whodunit.

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THE MAID

The shocking murder of a public figure at a high-end hotel has everyone guessing who the culprit might be.

Twenty-five-year-old Molly Gray, an eccentric young woman who's obsessed with cleaning but doesn't quite have the same ability to navigate social cues as those around her, loves working as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. Raised by her old-fashioned grandmother, who loved nothing more than cleaning and watching Columbo reruns, Molly has an overly polite and straightforward manner that can make her seem odd and off-putting to her colleagues despite her being the hardest worker at the hotel. After her grandmother's death, Molly's rigid life begins to lose some of its long-held balance, and when the infamous Mr. Charles Black, a rich and powerful businessman suspected of various criminal enterprises, is found murdered in one of the rooms she cleans, her whole world gets turned upside down. Before Molly knows what's happening, her odd demeanor has the police convinced she's guilty of the crime, and certain people at the hotel are a little too pleased about it. With the help of a few new friends (and while fending off new foes), she must begin to untangle the mystery of who really killed Mr. Black to get herself off the hook once and for all. Though the unusual ending might frustrate some readers, this unique debut will keep them reading.

A compelling take on the classic whodunit.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35615-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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