Readers should welcome this spy novel about a lawyer who prefers action over words, in both love and war.


First-time novelist Keller weaves the tale of a lawyer working for a company that may have shady Middle Eastern contacts and a willingness to resort to murder.

Thomas Quinter, a lawyer with a small firm in 1987 Cleveland, is offered a job by David Bordman, an old friend who was his commanding officer in the Navy. Bordman, VP for arms manufacturer Nortex, enlists Quinter to scout real estate in Spain while the company moves some of its business there. But a ransacking of his office and attack on Jennifer, his secretary and former lover, is only the start of his troubles. Soon, he’s noticing people watching and following him, and Quinter suspects an Iraqi connection to Nortex. The novel begins as noir, but ultimately, it’s a story of espionage and romance that gives equal air time to exposing Nortex’s deadly secrets and Quinter and Jennifer’s romance. The protagonist is shrouded in mystery, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Quinter’s time in Naval Intelligence may explain owning a gun but not why he has a silencer or an ability to pick locks. But enigma surrounding his background makes him a more curious character, particularly when he employs his skills as Jennifer and he evade scimitar-armed men. But not clarifying the “petty meanness” of Quinter’s divorce backfires when a flashback generates more sympathy for his ex-wife, who spies the lawyer getting cozy with his secretary. On occasion, descriptions of the scenery and sumptuous meals in Spain overtake progression of the plot—Quinter and Jennifer, knowing that the bad guys are in pursuit, stop at a cafe for a bite to eat. But overall, there’s a commendable fusion of a contemporary Middle Eastern conflict with old-school storytelling: Quinter twice uses the classic distraction of “Do you have a match?” and a kidnapped Jennifer seduces one of her captors. Not everything is explained, but the ending leaves just enough open to pave the way for a potential follow-up.

Readers should welcome this spy novel about a lawyer who prefers action over words, in both love and war.

Pub Date: June 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984789801

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quinter LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2012

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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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Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.


No oceans in Minnesota, you say? That won’t stop Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, who are clearly determined to burn through their bucket list on the federal government’s dime.

The murders of three Coast Guard officers chasing a suspicious boat in Florida waters by crooks who set fire to the boat moments after abandoning it send shock waves through the DEA, the FBI, and eventually the U.S. Marshals Service. In short order Lucas and his colleague and pal Bob Matees find themselves on a task force Florida Sen. Christopher Colles convenes to find the drugs the fugitives managed to dump into the Atlantic before they shot their pursuers and arrest everyone in sight. The duo’s modus operandi seems to be to talk to everyone who’s seen anything, and then talk to everyone they’ve mentioned, and so on, taking regular breaks to drink, reminisce, and swap wisecracks. Everything is so relaxed and routine that fans of this long-running series will just know that Sandford has something more up his sleeve, and he does. Eventually the task force’s net widens to make room for Virgil, who, working with Marshal Rae Givens, hires himself out to the criminals as a diver who can retrieve those drugs while Lucas and his allies work their way higher and higher up the food chain of baddies. The cast is enormous and mostly forgettable, but Sandford manages to work up a full head of steam when Lucas realizes that his scorched-earth tactics have put Virgil and Rae in serious danger.

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-08702-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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