A broad, satisfying thriller that’s as invigorating as it is charming.

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The eBay Code

THE EBAY DETECTIVE BOOK 2

In Maj. Brad Stout’s return, he must foil a radiological threat against the president mere hours before his wedding.

Part of Brad’s job at Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute is monitoring eBay for anyone selling radioactive material. The Army major believes he’s uncovered an online sale written in code that offers a potentially lethal item related to a 1961 nuclear incident in Idaho. There’s also an allusion in the code to the president’s upcoming visit to Camp David. Brad desperately attempts to warn the president about the scheme, and he’s also in serious danger of missing his wedding to his pregnant fiancee, Mary Lou. Though short, the second book in Salter’s (The eBay Plot, 2012) series packs a mean punch. In addition to the nuclear threat and pending nuptials, Brad is attacked by dirty-bomb terrorists—he’d thwarted their plans in his last adventure—seeking a World War II–era diary they believe he possesses. Brad also travels to Germany when a loved one is kidnapped, and he meets his odd, insular Cajun future in-laws. The novel can sometimes read like Salter was trying to squeeze in as many genres as he could: action, espionage, drama, a detective story, comedy with Mary Lou’s Ma and her nearly incomprehensible Cajun dialect, and even romance, as Brad and Mary Lou’s intimacy is in ample supply. Fortunately, though, the story isn’t convoluted, and there’s always some elbow room in the narrative. The best scenes deal with the bonding between Brad and his father-to-be: Brad calls him Dad and contrasts him with his own father, a cold, violent man. The two men work together in tracking down the highest bidder for the dubious eBay auction. But at the core of the story are Brad’s fear and excitement about his future marriage and impending fatherhood. For instance, despite having just survived an attack, he’s worried he’ll incur his fiancee’s Cajun wrath if he’s late picking up her father from the airport. Tellingly, the countdown, which begins about halfway through the novel, counts down not to the threat against the president but to the wedding day.

A broad, satisfying thriller that’s as invigorating as it is charming.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1625108036

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Tate Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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