by Charles McCarry ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2009
Will democracy survive? Readers will be left guessing until the last minute. A pleasing 21st-century rejoinder to the 1962...
What did Trelawny snatch from the funeral pyre at Viareggio? If you know the answer, you’re a natural for a secret Yale society that makes Skull and Bones look like the Elks.
There’s skullduggery afoot, and plenty of political intrigue, in this latest by accomplished mysterian McCarry (Christopher’s Ghosts, 2007, etc.), whose overarching message might be that one has no friends in Washington, those who call you friend are likely to do you harm, and when Republicans call you friend—well, schedule an appointment with the undertaker. McCarry’s setup is out of the headlines: A conservative presidential candidate wins office via electoral fraud. This time, however, his opponent has evidence. Enter the FIS—the heir to the CIA, replacing it “after it collapsed under the weight of the failures and scandals resulting from its misuse by twentieth-century Presidents.” Enter spooks, defense contractors, lobbyists and assorted other denizens of the District of Columbia—and, to boot, a few deranged assassins and Yale graduates up to no good. The plot thickens and thickens—it has to, after all, since, among other things, part of it turns on a presumptive president’s debating “the advantages and disadvantages of appointing a man he believed to be an enemy of democracy as Chief Justice of the United States.” There’s more than one clef in this roman, which has all the requisites of a Frederick Forsyth–style thriller but adds a few modern twists, some the product of a supersecret Moroccan-born agent whose stiletto heels are the real deal. She’s not the only hotty, and there’s the requisite steamy sex, too, told in requisite steamy language: “His great ursine weight fell upon her with a brutality that made her gasp with pleasure.” Other gasps await good guys and bad guys alike, especially when drilled by tiny bullets to the thorax and other unpleasant means of dispatch.Will democracy survive? Readers will be left guessing until the last minute. A pleasing 21st-century rejoinder to the 1962 novel Seven Days in May, and a capable whodunit.
Pub Date: April 1, 2009
Page Count: 576
Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2009
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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 Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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