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THE LAST ELECTION

A corrosive work of speculative fiction that may put readers even more on edge than they already are.

In former presidential candidate Yang’s first novel, doomsday looms for American democracy in the months leading up to the 2024 election.

No one is safe in America anymore. The latest victims of violence include a female Supreme Court justice shot to death in Washington, D.C., and a Democratic state senator gunned down in Michigan. At the Republican convention in Milwaukee, fighting between anarchists and the Proud Boys leaves three dead and 17 wounded. The only hope for turning things around is underdog third-party candidate Cooper Sherman, a charismatic, straight-talking billionaire running on the “Unfuck America” ticket. Never mind those sex clubs he once frequented. “Scandal is no longer a barrier to a candidate’s success,” according to his campaign manager, Mikey Ricci. “It's a requirement.” And with the Joint Chiefs of Staff poised to seize power in the increasingly likely event that the election goes off the rails, there are graver concerns than a candidate’s peccadilloes. Not that evidence of the secret plot will be reported in the New York Times. “They'll find reasons not to run it,” thinks the tip-line supervisor who discovered evidence of the plot. Though the novel has the markings of satire, details—including candidates hiring “selfie consultants” and Kim Kardashian conferring with Matthew McConaughey about his “gun-responsibility social media strategy”—are too believable to laugh at. Yang says Marche “did the heavy lifting writing this novel” and that the “stories and recollections” of Zach Graumann, Yang’s campaign manager, “form the backbone of this book.” While their collective contributions don’t cut very deep, their zinging broadsides make for lively and unsettling reading.

A corrosive work of speculative fiction that may put readers even more on edge than they already are.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781636141503

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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CITY IN RUINS

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

The dramatic conclusion to the trilogy about two New England crime families begun in City on Fire (2022) and City of Dreams (2023).

Near the end of his journey, multimillionaire Danny Ryan watches a casino implode in a mushroom cloud of dust and muses about his life’s implosions: “The cancer that killed his wife, the depression that destroyed his love, the moral rot that took his soul.” Danny is from Providence, Rhode Island, and desperately tried to leave his criminal life behind him. But using a ton of ill-gotten gains, he invests heavily in Las Vegas properties. Congress is conducting an investigation into gambling that could destroy his casino business and even land him in jail. An FBI agent plans to take Danny down for major sins he’d like to repent for. Meanwhile, can he make peace with his enemies? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Even if the parties involved want to put the past behind them, the trouble is that they don’t trust each other. Is Vern Winegard setting Dan up? Is Dan setting Vern up? “Trust? Trust is children waiting for Santa Claus.” So what could have been a “Kumbaya,” nobody-wants-to-read-this story turns into a grisly bloodletting filled with language that would set Sister Mary Margaret’s wimple on fire—figuratively speaking, as she’s not in the book. But the Catholic reference is appropriate: Two of the many colorful characters of ill repute are known as the Altar Boys, serving “Last Communion” to their victims. On the law-abiding side and out of the line of fire is an ex-nun-turned-prosecutor nicknamed Attila the Nun, who’s determined to bring justice for a gory matricide. (Rhode Island really had such a person, by the way.) Finally, the prose is just fun: A friend warns Dan about Allie Licata: “In a world of sick fucks, even the sick fucks think Licata’s a sick fuck.” A couple of things to note: This not only ends the trilogy, but it also closes out the author’s career, as he has said he’ll write no more novels.

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780063079472

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

The ne’er-do-well son of a successful Irish American family gets dragged into criminal complications that suggest the rest of the Devlins aren’t exactly the upstanding citizens they appear.

The first 35 years in the life of Thomas “TJ” Devlin have been one disappointment after another to his parents, lawyers who founded a prosperous insurance and reinsurance firm, and his more successful siblings, John and Gabby. A longtime alcoholic who’s been unemployable ever since he did time for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend Carrie’s then 2-year-old daughter, TJ is nominally an investigator for Devlin & Devlin, but everyone knows the post is a sinecure. Things change dramatically when golden-boy John tells TJ that he just killed Neil Lemaire, an accountant for D&D client Runstan Electronics. Their speedy return to the murder scene reveals no corpse, so the brothers breathe easier—until Lemaire turns up shot to death in his car. John’s way of avoiding anything that might jeopardize his status as heir apparent to D&D is to throw TJ under the bus, blaming him for everything John himself has done and adding that you can’t trust anything his brother has said since he’s fallen off the wagon. TJ, who’s maintained his sobriety a day at a time for nearly two years, feels outraged, but neither the police investigating the murder nor his nearest and dearest care about his feelings. Forget the forgettable mystery, whose solution will leave you shrugging instead of gasping, and focus on the circular firing squad of the Devlins, and you’ll have a much better time than TJ.

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780525539704

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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