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

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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The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once...

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In Baldacci’s 19th (True Blue, 2009, etc.), boy and girl monster-hunters meet cute.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous—spearheads the first, an ad hoc group of monster-hunting vigilantes. Studly, tall Shaw (no first name supplied) is point guard for a rival team, shadowy enough to leave the matter of its origin ambiguous. While their respective teams reconnoiter and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly these are drawn to each other in the time-honored Hollywood fashion. Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favor. The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team-members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus, singularly inopportune since, as monsters go, Waller rises to the second coming of Caligula—ample testimony furnished by a six-page, unsparingly detailed torture scene. In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once again show the stuff it’s made of.

Pub Date: April 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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