Next book

THE HOMECOMING

A third book may resolve the tangled plot, but this one is messy and overwritten.

Thriller author Stroud returns to the eerie Southern town of Niceville, where plantation-era ghosts abound, gunplay is routine, and genres tend to morph and merge.

For the sprawling second book in his trilogy, Stroud (Niceville, 2012) again strives to find the place where noir, thriller and paranormal fiction intersect. Detective Nick Kavanaugh is investigating a bank robbery that appears to have involved his brother-in-law Byron Dietz, a wife-beating horror who’s implicated in some shady activity with Chinese businessmen. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife, Kate, is caring for Deitz’s shellshocked wife and kids, as well as 10-year-old Rainey Teague, who (as detailed in the first book) has a mystical connection to a family of slavery-era reprobates. Stroud can write knockout violent set pieces: A high-speed police chase gone terribly awry; Dietz’s wild escape from custody thanks to a deer crashing into a transport bus; and a standoff in a Bass Pro Shop stocked with guns and outdoor gear. In these scenes, Stroud masters stark imagery, tough talk and street smarts, even if the cops other than Nick are relatively faceless. Where the book stumbles is in its ungainly effort to weave in plodding bits of horror and Southern history amid the crime story. Scenes involving Rainey Teague largely involve him and extended members of the Kavanaugh clan exploring an old plantation house, where Teague is possessed by “nothing,” a nefarious demon trying to extract him from adult support. As a vision of evil, a boldfaced voice in a preteen’s head isn’t especially terrifying, and, tucked as this all is in a busy plot thick with characters and historical references, its impact is weakened further still. The most clearly drawn character, in fact, is Deitz, but he’s a hard guy to root for.

A third book may resolve the tangled plot, but this one is messy and overwritten.

Pub Date: July 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-70096-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 22


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Next book

THE SILENT PATIENT

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 22


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Next book

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Close Quickview