A woman gets in touch with her inner action hero in this bracing thriller.

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Danger in Plain Sight

A CALLIE JAMES THRILLER

In this novel, a restaurateur’s ex-husband—a journalist working on an explosive story—puts her and her son in danger.

Callie James is the owner of Le Cochon Bronze, a popular eatery in Seattle, where she returned, heartbroken and pregnant, after she caught her French spouse cheating on her. Fourteen years later, her former husband shows up at the restaurant. He is a renowned investigative reporter working on “the story of the modern terrorist world.” She wants no part of him and escorts him outside. No sooner does he inform her that someone is trying to kill him and he needs her help than a hit-and-run driver propels him through the front of her restaurant. He survives, and, against her better judgment, she agrees to hide him for the sake of the son he has never met. “This kind of risk-taking is not like you,” her sommelier notes. Her 13-year-old son, Lew, tells her: “You need someone to help you. Someone tough.” Callie knows just the guy: Cash Logan, “a scoundrel,” womanizer, and smuggler whom she turned over to the police two years ago. (“When you get out of jail, don’t ever come back here,” she told him.) While it is out of character for him, too, he agrees to help her (albeit for a sizable sum of money). One of the pleasures of this fast-paced franchise starter is Callie’s believably gradual transformation into someone who would spray bear mace on two assassins in a car. She is, as described, “a force of nature.” Weissbourd’s supporting cast of colorful characters just skirts the realm of clichés. In this entertaining tale, it is menacingly effective that the softer a villain’s voice gets, the angrier he is. Only the ex-husband is not as convincingly drawn. Still, as one character toasts, “Bravo, Callie James.”

A woman gets in touch with her inner action hero in this bracing thriller.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 9781733438209

Page Count: -

Publisher: Blue City Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2020

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Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

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THE BOY FROM THE WOODS

Coben’s latest darkest-suburbs thriller sets a decidedly offbeat detective on the trail of a crime with overtones unmistakably redolent of once and future presidential elections.

Wilde is called Wilde because nobody’s known his real name from the moment a pair of hikers found him foraging for himself in Ramapo Mountain State Forest 24 years ago. Now over 40, he’s had experience as both a lost boy and a private investigator. That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. Matthew doesn’t really want anyone to help. He doesn’t even want anyone to notice his agitation. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene (Run Away, 2019) to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star–turned–presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. Everything’s hunky-dory for one week, and then she disappears again. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. The tapes link Rusty to a forgotten and forgettable homicide and add a paranoid new ripped-from-the-headlines dimension to the author’s formidable range. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.

Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4814-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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