When a poor Argentine scavenger discovers a partially shredded CIA document, her decision to sell it puts her life in danger and leads to violence, espionage and intrigue involving international drug cartels.
Jones’ (Rusted Rails, 2013, etc.) fourth book is divided into three parts, two that overlap during 1999 and a third seven years later. In Argentina, Camila Sanchez, the widow of a policeman, must recycle garbage to support her son and ailing mother. When she discovers a document labeled “Wild Ferret,” she regards it as a treasure, albeit a dangerous one. The CIA plans to infiltrate Argentine communications, which it believes are aiding the ruthless Mexican Gulf drug cartel. After weighing her options, she decides that the least risky alternative is to deal with the Argentines. Through computer hacking, the U.S. and Argentina play each other. Eduardo Rodriguez, a young American computer genius, finds the Argentine system doesn’t work and has to fix it in order to infiltrate it. Meanwhile, armed with Sanchez’s intelligence, the Argentines feed misinformation to the Americans. The action heats up when a rogue Argentine cop tries to hunt down Sanchez and the cartel learns of the communications breach. In Part 2, the cartel foists Rosario 5, an aphrodisiac, on the market, while the Argentines use it to influence a U.S. presidential election. Rodriguez returns in Part 3, teaming up with beautiful Argentine agent Elina Cristina Aguilar. Together, they run down Rosario factories and scare up romance and an action-packed ending. Well-written and easy to read, Jones’ thriller helpfully includes character lists and maps of key settings. Actually, there might be too much extraneous information intruding on the fictive reality: “Note to Readers: The story branches out at this point” and “It was as if the cartel had possessed prior knowledge of the raids….In actuality, they did have prior knowledge.” Such intrusions tell readers things they already know or soon will rather than allowing the story to tell itself, which it otherwise does quite well.

Despite too much hand-holding, a fast-paced thriller and great read for fans of espionage, international intrigue and political maneuvering.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499330564

Page Count: 378

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2014

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

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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.


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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