by Caroline Kepnes ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2023
Joe Goldberg might be a narcissistic, manipulative, murderous, utterly unreliable narrator, but he’s damn entertaining.
Has serial killer Joe Goldberg finally met his match—in a creative writing class?
In the previous three books in this series, beginning with You (2014), hopeless romantic and occasional murderer Joe has found himself in perilous situations. But who knew the most terrifying yet would be a creative writing fellowship at Harvard? Joe has written a novel, titled—what else?—Me, and has finagled himself into a workshop headed by Glenn Shoddy, author of a critically acclaimed novel called Scabies for Breakfast. Joe discovers that most of his fellows in the workshop are real writers, not just aspiring—Ani is an Obie-winning playwright, Sarah Beth the author of a successful mystery series. Mats and Lou have both completed promising first books, and nepo baby O.K. hasn’t finished writing a book yet, but her mother is an NPR star. Shoddy himself comes to class in bike shorts and talks more about his rides than his writing. But, of course, Joe finds a soul mate in the lovely Wonder Parish, who’s just as insecure about her place in the seminar as Joe is. She still lives with her blue-collar family, caring for her wounded veteran dad and managing a Dunkin’. And she is, as Joe sees when he starts reading her manuscript, Faithful, a truly gifted writer. He is soon madly in love with her, and she responds, although their affair doesn’t go smoothly. Joe has other things to worry about, too. One is a podcast that's the topic of lively discussion in the seminar: The Body on Bainbridge—a body Joe knows too much about. When you leave as many unsolved murders in your wake as he has, someone is bound to do a true-crime show about one of them. Another is Shoddy’s wife, the aptly named Sly, who has her own secrets. When the bodies start dropping, Joe has to wonder if he’s the only killer in class. Kepnes gleefully portrays the most back-stabbing seminar yet, dropping literary names with abandon as she twists the plot.Joe Goldberg might be a narcissistic, manipulative, murderous, utterly unreliable narrator, but he’s damn entertaining.
Pub Date: April 25, 2023
Page Count: 448
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Alex Michaelides ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 16, 2024
More style than substance.
Michaelides takes a literary turn in his latest novel, employing an unreliable narrator, the structure of classical drama, and a self-conscious eye to dismantling the locked-room mystery.
The novel starts off with a murder, and with seven people trapped on an isolated Greek island lashed by a "wild, unpredictable Greek wind." The narrator, soon established as Elliot Chase, then zooms out to address the reader directly, introducing the players—most importantly movie star Lana Farrar. We meet her husband, Jason Miller, her son, Leo, and her friend Kate Crosby, a theater actress. We learn about her rise to fame and her older first husband, Otto Krantz, a Hollywood producer. We learn about Kate’s possibly stalling career and Leo’s plan to apply to acting schools against his mother’s wishes. We learn about Jason’s obsession with guns. And in fragments and shards, we learn about Elliot: his painful childhood; his May–September relationship with an older female writer, now dead; his passion for the theater, where he learned “to change everything about [himself]” to fit in. Though he isn't present in every scene, he conveys each piece of the story leading up to the murder as if he were an omniscient narrator, capable of accessing every character's interior perspective. When he gets to the climax, there is, indeed, a shooting. There is, indeed, a motive. And there is, of course, a twist. The atmosphere of the novel, set mostly on this wild Greek island, echoes strongly the classical tragedies of Greece. The characters are types. The emotions are operatic. And the tragedy, of course, leads us to question the idea of fate. Michaelides seems also to be dipping into the world of Edgar Allan Poe, offering an unreliable narrator who feels more like a literary exercise. As an exploration of genre, it’s really quite fascinating. As a thriller, it’s not particularly surprising.More style than substance.
Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Celadon Books
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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