Distrust and deceit throw soldiers and civilians into a tailspin in this gripping tale.


Chaos reigns when the Army seizes a rustic little town to stop a virus from spreading in this debut thriller.

Martin Fallon has eluded the Army soldiers hounding him for an entire month. He’d been part of a top-secret project, and now he’s infected with a virus. At least, that’s what Col. Preston Aldridge tells townsfolk in Harper’s Glen, close to where a blizzard spins Fallon’s car off the road. The desperate Fallon, after recovering at the local hospital, seeks refuge at nurse Shelly Christianson’s home. Though he initially takes Shelly hostage, Fallon may not be as crazy as he seems. He claims the Army is after him because he knows about the biological agent it’s been inhumanely testing—and all he wants to do is flee. Meanwhile, Aldridge sets up his command post at the hospital as he attempts to quarantine Harper’s Glen’s citizens. Soldiers also scour the area for Fallon, but residents object to their presence, convinced the Army has “kidnapped” the medical staff of the entire town. When the townsfolk’s resistance turns aggressive, the armed soldiers use deadly force. This only further enrages the civilians, who retaliate with guns and much worse. McBee’s novel generates intensity through a bevy of dubious characters. For example, readers don’t know who’s lying—Aldridge or Fallon—and each convincingly explains how the other is more dangerous. The cast comprises numerous players often reacting to someone’s hostility, including in action-laden scenes of the Army versus the residents. As such, the characters are generally underdeveloped, though Shelly is unquestionably sympathetic. She escaped from an abusive husband, and she won’t let Fallon make her a victim again. Despite several explosively violent turns in the story, the author’s grandest descriptions portray the cold, snowy surroundings: “Away from the plowed roads, the top-heavy military trucks slipped and fishtailed, fighting for traction on the slick muddy surface. Slowly, they plodded along.”

Distrust and deceit throw soldiers and civilians into a tailspin in this gripping tale.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63-752882-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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A tense history-based thriller filled with anguish and suspense.


A poignant story of courage, misogyny, and misused power.

In 1947, Elinor White lives in a village in Kent in a grace-and-favor house, rewarded for her service to the crown, and keeps her own counsel. A farmworkers's cottage nearby is home to the Mackie family: Jim, Rose, and little Susie, who befriends the wary Elinor. Jim comes from a family of notorious London gangsters, and when they want him to return to the fold, they'll resort to violence to convince him. In interspersed chapters we learn about the background that Elinor keeps to herself: She was a spy during both world wars. Back in 1914, in Belgium, 10-year-old Elinor, youngest daughter of a Belgian father and English mother, tries to catch a boat to England along with her mother and sister, Cecily, before the German advance, but they're too late and return to their home, now under occupation. Some time later, a mysterious woman named Isabelle approaches their mother and recruits the two girls to spy on the Germans. It's easy for schoolgirls to appear innocuous as they count the number of trains that pass by their village. The sisters are trained in sabotage and self-defense. Elinor is a natural, but Cecily is not, and when Elinor kills two German soldiers trying to rape her sister, Isabelle smuggles them out to England—where Elinor faces another war, decades later, by working with the Special Operations Executive and returning to Belgium. Now she hopes her contacts from those days will save Jim from the clutches of the Mackie family. Her wartime experiences come back to haunt her, leaving her unable to trust anyone. In the end, it’s the gangsters who tell her the truth that will shatter her world and give her hope for the future.

A tense history-based thriller filled with anguish and suspense.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780062867988

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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