A terrific tale for fans of the genre.



A fast-moving, tense biothriller set in China.

Nick Foley is a 28-year-old former Navy SEAL and combat medic who decides that life is “about stewardship, doing something good with the body and mind.” This leads him to do volunteer work on an irrigation project in western China. While he helps dig ditches, a local Uyghur suddenly contracts a horrible disease and dies a grotesque death. Surprisingly to Foley, the illness is not contagious. Soon he’s quarantined and interrogated by the Snow Leopards, a Chinese counterterrorism unit investigating the possibility of bioterrorism. They know about Foley’s past and suspect him of working for the U.S. government. With them is Dr. Chen “Dash” Dazhong, who is, of course, beautiful, of China’s Center for Disease Control. She quickly realizes she can work with Foley to help solve the mystery. Were the disease—if that’s what it is—viral or bacterial, it would trigger an epidemic, but this appears to be targeted. They speculate they’ve witnessed an untraceable weapon being tested in remote China, where supposedly no one cares about the victims. Meanwhile, Maxim Polakov is a Russian spy running a Chinese asset code-named Prizrak. Polakov is very interested in an “entirely new class of weapon” that could kill millions and make him a hero of the new Russia. A number of people die, including a good friend of Dash's. Details aren’t for the squeamish—eyes turn to “gelatinous goo”—but all the violence advances the story. Foley and Dash had better get to the bottom of this menace because it has a 100 percent mortality rate, and the ultimate bad guy says “I am going to turn Beijing red” with his opponents’ blood. An exciting showdown takes place in Beijing’s Underground City, a real Cold War creation of Mao Zedong.

A terrific tale for fans of the genre.

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62953-594-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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