Farnsworth, author of the fantastical Nathaniel Cade series (Red, White, and Blood, 2012, etc.), stands to expand his...

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KILLFILE

Hired by billionaire Everett Sloan to determine whether a whiz kid who used to work for his data-mining outfit stole company secrets to start his own operation, mind-reading investigator John Smith finds himself targeted by a conspiratorial group with secret CIA connections.

Years removed from quitting the CIA, which trained him on how to use his skills, Smith is no ordinary telepath. Not only can he "hear" what people are thinking, he also can project thoughts and fears into their heads. The problem is, when he defends himself from an attacker by implanting a traumatizing memory or crippling feeling, he himself retains a percentage of the pain or suffering. High-tech bad boy Eli Preston ("the next Zuckerberg"), the data thief, is so concerned that Smith will reveal his illicit government ties that he wants him 100 percent dead. Though Smith is no slouch at fisticuffs, his powers are neutralized when thugs are delivering blows to his head. He also suffers without his meds, haunted by the memory of interrogators torturing and killing a prisoner in Bagram who was telling the truth when he said he didn't know where Osama bin Laden was. Now on the run, his credit and bank accounts voided by the powerful bad guys, Smith gathers up strength to take on a wider-reaching threat than he envisioned. He gets help and then some from Kelsey Foster, a fetching, now-former associate of Preston's. Though Farnsworth takes his time detailing Smith's past and the military's interest in "mind warfare," that doesn't diminish the appeal of his flip, unusually compelling hero or the up-to-the-minute freshness of the story.

Farnsworth, author of the fantastical Nathaniel Cade series (Red, White, and Blood, 2012, etc.), stands to expand his following with this clever, offbeat thriller.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241640-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

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THE BOY FROM THE WOODS

Coben’s latest darkest-suburbs thriller sets a decidedly offbeat detective on the trail of a crime with overtones unmistakably redolent of once and future presidential elections.

Wilde is called Wilde because nobody’s known his real name from the moment a pair of hikers found him foraging for himself in Ramapo Mountain State Forest 24 years ago. Now over 40, he’s had experience as both a lost boy and a private investigator. That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. Matthew doesn’t really want anyone to help. He doesn’t even want anyone to notice his agitation. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene (Run Away, 2019) to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star–turned–presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. Everything’s hunky-dory for one week, and then she disappears again. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. The tapes link Rusty to a forgotten and forgettable homicide and add a paranoid new ripped-from-the-headlines dimension to the author’s formidable range. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.

Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4814-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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

THE SILENT PATIENT

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. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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