A topical adventure that will please fans of military and technological intrigue.

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HAZMAT

A taught tech-thriller that chronicles the romantic bonding of two heroes and their struggle to expose a rogue U.S. Army Special Forces unit.

At the center of this pleasingly complicated Clancy-esque yarn—though one skeptical of the military industrial complex—is the shadowy School of the Americas. This institution of higher learning—renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001—was for the training of Latin American intelligence, military and police forces, run quietly by the U.S. Department of Defense until the stories of its alumni’s post-graduate genocide came to light in the late ’90s. In this ingenious little novel, the school is also a place where special operations forces are trained in highly advanced, almost virtual, sessions; if caught during an exercise in escape, cadets are taken to an ersatz prison where the beatings are real. It’s a fascinating setting, but, blessedly, this book has as much heart and head as guts and glory. Sandra Tellan, the widow of a former commander of a special unit called Hazmat, receives a rude awakening when her computer spouts out strange code. She informs the military of the incident, and from there, the story does not let up. Sandra is being watched, and the Hazmat team is on a seemingly warrantless, capricious killing spree through the Chicago area. She turns to college professor Charlie Hart—the chemistry between the two is authentic and immediate—whose work on urban planning has become a kind of guide map for the marauding killers. However, Sandra and Charlie have the Necros Tracker, a program written by her husband that allows them to track the murders using data from law enforcement agencies. How exactly this all fits together is only part of the novel’s fun, and the denouement does not disappoint. Harris’ prose is lively and unpretentious, yet generous enough to create spaces for the imagination without eschewing the pleasurable detail and emotions in the interest of racing to the next page. The literate descriptions of scenery and atmosphere and the knowledgeable weaving of historic fact with clever, relevant fiction make the novel’s romantic and relevant conclusion well worth the journey.

A topical adventure that will please fans of military and technological intrigue.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1449056698

Page Count: 220

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2010

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This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

JOURNEY OF THE PHARAOHS

Rumors of lost Egyptian treasure spark high adventure in this 17th in the NUMA series featuring oceanographer Kurt Austin and his crew (Sea of Greed, 2018, etc.).

Over 3,000 years ago, grave robbers sail away with loot from a pharaoh’s tomb. In 1927, Jake Melbourne and his plane disappear in his attempt at a trans-Atlantic flight. In the present day, arms merchants known as the Bloodstone Group have taken to stealing antiquities. They are looking for a “treasure both vast and glorious” that hieroglyphics say was shipped down the Nile and out of Egypt, perhaps even west across the Atlantic. (Holy scurvy! That must’ve been a lot of hard rowing!) The criminals are known to MI5 as “very dangerous people" and "merchants selling death.” Perfectly willing to kill everyone in their way, they are aided by mechanical crows and Fydor and Xandra, nasty sibling assassins jointly called the Toymaker. Such are the foes faced by Austin and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency. Of course, Austin has no interest in profit; he will gladly leave the ancient riches wherever they are. Action arrives early and often, and the failed pre-Lindbergh flight fits in neatly. Cussler and Brown concoct a nifty plot with disparate, sometimes over-the-top twists that will make even hardcore adventure fans say “Wow!” Expect claustrophobic gunfights, aerial combat, a life-threatening flood, messages from the dead, coffins of gold—and a vintage classic car, because why not? “We’re going to steal the greatest deposit of Egyptian treasure the world has ever known,” brags the evil mastermind. But he’ll have to climb over the series hero’s dead body first, which—no plot spoiler here—ain’t gonna happen.

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08308-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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