by Andrew Mayne ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 1, 2023
A brisk, competent thriller that neither challenges nor disappoints.
A freelance fixer discovers international intrigue while probing a catastrophic aircraft explosion.
A creepy prologue introduces siblings Luka and Adrik, budding contract killers, making a few extra euros by dispatching a woman. Stateside, the death of his young son, Jason, devastates retired FBI agent Brad Trasker, who waxes philosophical in the grip of his grief as he embarks on a new project. Trasker happened to meet media-shy entrepreneur Kylie Connor when she helped him change a flat tire. Is it karma or design when she summons him to a high-powered meeting in an airplane hangar? Kylie is planning to pilot Sparrow, an experimental hydrogen-powered aircraft she claims "will make aviation globally accessible.” Trasker isn't sure why he's been invited, but he's clearly needed after the demo goes horribly wrong. The aircraft explodes and catches fire; Kylie, engulfed in flames as she stands outside the plane, survives unscathed. Trasker sets about investigating the explosion. The prolific Mayne’s series kickoff at first unfolds like a forensics-heavy police procedural, with short chapters adding new bits of evidence and often introducing new characters. Advanced technology figures prominently; Trasker suspects a projectile fired from a strategically chosen location. The possibility of a Russian connection gives new significance to the prologue and its title to the novel, which morphs into a labyrinthine international thriller. The intensity rises when Trasker meets unctuous Michael Charles Wagner and begins to uncover a complex criminal network, piece by piece. Mayne overreaches, trying to do too many things at once, but the pace never flags.A brisk, competent thriller that neither challenges nor disappoints.
Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2023
Page Count: 315
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Steve Berry ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 20, 2024
Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side.
Cotton Malone, who just can’t stay retired from international intrigue, joins the mad dance of competitors for a fortune in bitcoin.
So many people have forgotten about the horde of gold the retreating Japanese hid on Luzon Island in the Philippines that it’s not at all clear who has legal title to it. That’s perfect for Robert Citrone, the retired CIA overseer of the Black Eagle Trust, which has used the gold to fund covert operations around the world. Just as Derrick Koger, the European station chief for the CIA, is pulling Malone away from his Copenhagen bookstore to help him investigate possible misdeeds swirling around Luxembourg’s Bank of St. George and its ruthless chief operating officer, Catherine Gledhill, other interested parties turn up in often surprising connections. Freelance assassin Kyra Lhota executes Armenian oligarch Samvel Yerevan and moves on to her next target. Malone’s sometime lover Cassiopeia Vitt is snatched by high-ranking Japanese security chief Aiko Ejima. His former lover Suzy Baldwin resurfaces as Kelly Austin, BSG’s director of special technology, who’s concealing secrets from Malone and the rest of the world. They’re all on the trail of a fabulous cache of bitcoin that in the absence of any legal records of ownership will belong, like the Luzon gold, to anyone who can track it down and grab it. The grandly scaled complications that follow feature countless broken alliances and the deaths of a fearsome number of nonfranchise characters. An extended author’s note explains what’s historically accurate (quite a bit, as it turns out) and what’s fabricated (quite a bit more).Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side.
Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024
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