Part stalker romance, part thriller, the arc of this story is a bit blurry, but fans of the You series will be delighted.

YOU LOVE ME

Joe Goldberg is back, once again consumed with thoughts about a woman who loves books.

Forced to abandon his son to his deranged ex-girlfriend Love Quinn, Joe lands on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle. He begins volunteering at the local library, where he quickly becomes entangled in the life of librarian Mary Kay DiMarco, mom to Nomi, a teenager whose favorite book is Columbine. Because Joe has top-notch stalking skills, he and Mary Kay are quickly more than work spouses, and Mary Kay introduces Joe to her closest friends: Seamus, a Crossfit proselytizer who hopes to date Mary Kay himself, and Melanda, a high school teacher so close to Mary Kay that she practically co-parents Nomi. Neither of them much likes Joe, whom they see as an interloper. As Joe pursues Mary Kay, Kepnes employs techniques from Joe's earlier adventures, including having him imprison characters who threaten his romantic overtures in a special, nearly soundproof room—this time the so-called Whisper Room is in his basement. While using so many cliffhangers at the ends of chapters helps generate excitement (and it will be helpful for the Netflix series), too often these surprises come out of nowhere, introducing a character, for example, who has not even been foreshadowed. Of course, telling the story in Joe’s voice, addressed to "you"—in this case Mary Kay—is the signature of the series, but Joe’s head is an uncomfortable place to be, particularly when he reduces women to faux feminist caricatures or contemplates homicide. The most compelling plot twists come from the women characters, and as Joe's past comes back to wreak havoc on his new love affair, Mary Kay herself throws Joe some unexpected curveballs.

Part stalker romance, part thriller, the arc of this story is a bit blurry, but fans of the You series will be delighted.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13378-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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