A deliciously inventive thriller brimming with sex, secrets, and scandal.

THE GOLDEN CAGE

Faye Adelheim has it all—a wealthy, handsome husband, an expensive home, and a beautiful little girl. But when her fairy-tale life fractures, how far will she go to exact revenge?

Läckberg, the mistress of Scandinavian noir, returns with a smart riff on women’s thrillers: This is Big Little Lies meets Gone Girl with some 9 to 5 tossed in for good measure. Having grown up in a small town, Faye independently makes her way to Stockholm changes her name, and eventually secures a spot in the prestigious Stockholm School of Economics, where she meets her best friend, Chris, and her future husband, Jack. While Jack builds his first business (virtually forgetting that Faye helped come up with the idea for the company), Faye abandons her studies to support them by waiting tables. She even signs a prenuptial agreement that guarantees her nothing, trusting in Jack’s love. Once married, Faye stays home, her career essentially dead, but Jack’s thrives, emboldening him to insult and degrade her. And while Jack’s business takes him on glamorous trips, Faye finds herself killing time and numbing her pain by drinking with the other women caught in golden cages. That is, until she discovers Jack's affair; their divorce leaves her practically penniless. Despite her pitiful predicament, Faye isn’t entirely without resources. Certainly, she has Chris, who's founded her own hair-care empire and become a wildly successful businesswoman. She also has rage, and she quickly channels that rage into her business acumen, developing a plan not only to take down Jack, but also to market a product to jilted woman (and isn’t that nearly all women?). Yet as Faye begins dismantling Jack’s life, Läckberg deftly teases the reader by dropping clues to Faye’s dark past. We can’t help but wonder if she’s done this before.

A deliciously inventive thriller brimming with sex, secrets, and scandal.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65797-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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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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Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

THE HOTEL NANTUCKET

Bring on the fresh-baked gougères and the hydrangea-blue cashmere throws: A classic fictional setting—the grand hotel—gets the Hilderbrand treatment.

The beloved beach novelist’s 28th book is another tour de force, deploying all her usual tricks and tropes and clever points of view, again among them a character from the afterlife and the collective “we” of gossipy island residents. Our ghost is Grace Hadley, a teenage chambermaid who died under suspicious circumstances in a hotel fire in 1922. Grace’s lonely days are over when the historic property is purchased and reopened by a London billionaire. As Xavier Darling tells his general manager, Lizbet Keaton, their goal will be to get five out of five keys from Shelly Carpenter, an undercover hotel blogger who has not awarded top honors to any spot visited so far. A gorgeous remodel, a sterling staff, free treats in the minibar, and—of course, since this is Hilderbrand—an incredible restaurant where a disco ball drops from the ceiling every night at 9 p.m. and the chef is hotter than any dish on the menu are all in play as the first guests come streaming in. Which one is the hard-to-please Ms. Carpenter? Other addictive storylines include a rich kid cleaning rooms to expiate some mysterious, terrible thing he did this past spring, an evil beauty breaking up island marriages (instead of a gun in the drawer, there's a half-used Chanel eye shadow in Pourpre Brun), and the desperate attempts of Lizbet’s ex, who sexted with their wine rep, to win her back. One of the special services Lizbet creates for the guests of the Hotel Nantucket is a “Blue Book” containing all her recommended island itineraries. A real-life version is included as an appendix, giving the complete scoop on where to eat, drink, sunbathe, shop, and stay on the island, plus notes on which Hilderbrand novels happened where. If you’re ready to check out Chicken Box or to try the sandwiches on herb bread that lured the author to become a permanent island resident in 1993, the Elin Hilderbrand Bucket List Weekend really is a thing.

Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-25867-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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