CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Parker's latest Miami lawyer-in-distress is Daniel Galindo, Esq., who gets mangled in a DEA undercover operation against his lovers and relatives. After months of hard work, Operation Manatee is ready for the big push against Miguel Salazar and the associates he's bullied into letting him use Mayhem, an up-and-coming band, to launder millions in heroin cash. DEA agent-in-charge Vincent Hooper and assistant US prosecutor Elaine McHale, who just happen to be lovers, have placed an undercover agent and turned a reluctant informer inside Coral Rock Productions. Very nice for them—but not so nice for Dan Galindo, Elaine's former colleague at the federal attorney's office, whose life has been in a tailspin ever since he refused to suborn perjury in an earlier drug case. Divorced from his wife Lisa, Dan's still friendly with Lisa's brother Rick Robbins, Mayhem's manager, and even friendlier with Mayhem guitarist Kelly Dorff, not realizing that she's Manatee's informant. Struggling to be a father to his son Josh, Dan allows Salazar to lend him his yacht for a fishing trip—and finds himself slipping even further into the bad guys' pockets. Although there are undeniable compensations—at diverse times Dan enjoys romantic scenes with Kelly, with Lisa, with ambitious Mayhem vocalist Martha Cruz, and even with Elaine—they vanish when Kelly's killed at Dan's apartment, shot with his own speargun. If Dan didn't do it—and Elaine's ready to provide him with an alibi—who did? There's a surprising answer, but you may have forgotten all about it in the storm over (1) the quest for an incriminating audiotape; (2) Dan's domestic dilemmas; (3) Rick's entanglement with monstrous Salazar; (4) the fate of Mayhem, whose members should check their insurance policies; and (5) the infighting among all those feds. Nobody plots more generously than Parker (Blood Relations, 1996, etc.), but this time, with enough menace for a whole season of Miami Vice, the result is so unfocused that it's exhausting instead of dramatic. (First printing of 60,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 1997

ISBN: 0-525-93977-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

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

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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