A taut, gripping mystery.

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A New Jersey mother’s and son’s psychic dreams have ties to a murder case in this supernatural thriller.

Caitlin Walker assures her 4-year-old son, Adam, that his recurring nightmares aren’t real. But his latest one seems all too familiar to Caitlin. She had premonitory dreams when younger, though an over-the-counter sleeping pill has kept her dreamless for nearly a decade. One of her childhood dreams involved a young girl’s murder—similar to the nightmare Adam describes. That unsolved homicide took place in Culver Creek, Pennsylvania, 19 years ago. It’s a cold case that new Culver Creek Police Detective Sage Dorian is currently working. He quickly has potential leads, especially as he suspects one of the original investigating officers is hiding something. Also harboring secrets are Caitlin and her husband, Lance; she’s never told him of her psychic dreams, and he has a particular reason for locking their bedroom door each night. Before Caitlin can determine if Adam’s nightmare is the same as hers or about something more recent, her son mysteriously disappears. This apparent kidnapping ultimately shines a light on the spouses’ hidden pasts and may even unmask a killer. This swift, searing murder mystery never wavers. For example, characters’ backstories, including those of Caitlin’s and Lance’s parents, are filled with surprises that have at least some connections to the homicide. Moreover, these backstories enhance character development; Sage is seemingly driven by his sister’s unsolved murder. Grosso chisels her prose to great effect, particularly the descriptions of Caitlin: Lance “knew nothing about her psychic dreams or the freak she used to be. She had always thought it was for the best, but now the unthinkable had happened, and it was all her fault.” Though the final act relies on coincidence, the killer’s unveiling is an engrossing turn, and characters caught in a torrential rain amp up the suspense. The tale culminates in an unforgettable ending.

A taut, gripping mystery. (author’s note, author bio)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949852-20-2

Page Count: 428

Publisher: Glitter Pigeon Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020


Fascinating main characters and a clever plot add up to an exciting read.

A thriller with bloody murders and plenty of suspects and featuring an unlikely partnership between two FBI investigators.

FBI consultant Amos Decker has a lot on his mind. The huge fellow once played for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL until he received a catastrophic brain injury, leaving him with synesthesia; he sees death as electric blue. More pertinent to the plot, he also has hyperthymesia, or spontaneous and highly accurate recall. On the one hand, his memories can be horrible. He’d once come home to find his wife and daughter murdered, dead in pools of blood. Later, he listens helplessly on the telephone while his ex-partner shoots herself in the mouth. On the other hand, his memory helps him solve every case he's given. Now he's sent to Florida with a brand-new partner, Special Agent Frederica White, to investigate the murder of a federal judge. Both partners are pissed at their last-minute pairing, and they immediately see themselves as a bad fit. White is a diminutive Black single mother of two who has a double black belt in karate “because I hate getting my ass kicked.” (The author doesn't mention Decker's race, but since he's being contrasted with his new partner in every way, perhaps readers are expected to see him as White. Clarity would be nice.) Their case is strange: Judge Julia Cummins was stabbed 10 times and her face covered with a mask, while her bodyguard was shot to death. Decker and White puzzle over the “very contrarian crime scene” where two murders seem to have been committed by two different people in the same place. The plot gets complex, with suspects galore. But the interpersonal dynamic between Decker and White is just as interesting as the solution to the murders, which doesn't come easily. At first, they’d like to be done with each other and go their separate ways. But as they work together, their mutual respect rises and—alas—the tension between them fades almost completely. The pair will make a great series duo, especially if a bit of that initial tension between them returns. And Baldacci shouldn’t give Decker a pass on his tortured memories, because readers enjoy suffering heroes. It's not enough that his near-perfect recall helps him in his job.

Fascinating main characters and a clever plot add up to an exciting read.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1982-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022


As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...

Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.

According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.

As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-60290-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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