A Hollywood fantasy that’s all about hurt until the very end, which is so much worse.


The modern architect of transgressive fiction returns with the tale of a sonic artist looking for the perfect scream.

Palahniuk dives deep into Hollywood noir with a grotesque and outrageous stand-alone that marries the sexual deviance of Snuff (2008) with the late-stage sadism of Bret Easton Ellis. Reminding us from the beginning, “Keep Telling Yourself It’s Only a Movie,” Palahniuk thrusts us into the demented world of one Mitzi Ives, a pill-popping, masochistic, borderline psychotic woman whose specialty in her profession as a freelance Foley artist is capturing the screams of people in the worst agony of their lives. Her narrative runs parallel to that of Gates Foster, an investigator who specializes in tracking down pedophiles. Also in the mix is fading movie star Blush Gentry, whose autobiography, Oscarpocalypse Now, interrupts the torture scenes from time to time, as well as Schlo, the inevitably creepy movie producer. The figure that ties all these deviants together is Dr. Adamah, nominally the physician for Mitzi but, at the book’s core, its real villain. You have to give Palahniuk credit, because there’s just nobody like him when it comes to skeeving out readers, but as in many of his nihilist fancies, there’s nobody to root for here. Gates is a bit useless in the detective department, and Mitzi quite literally disses her boyfriend, Jimmy, because he “only managed to knock out one of her front teeth.” Palahniuk is an acquired taste, and fans will appreciate the story that scrapes like fingernails on a chalkboard and the familiar post-capitalism end-of-the-world vibe, but it might be a little too close for comfort for less amenable readers.

A Hollywood fantasy that’s all about hurt until the very end, which is so much worse.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1800-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • 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

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A thoughtful exploration of one thief’s motivations and relationships, featuring a healthy dose of romance and suspense.


A lifelong thief needs to pull off one last job—while getting revenge and keeping the woman he loves safe.

When Harry Booth was only 9 years old, he became a thief. With a cancer-stricken mother and bills piling up, it was his only option. But as he gets older and keeps breaking into homes—what he calls his “nightwork”—he realizes he possesses an unusual skill for it. Harry can pick any lock, slip into any home, and navigate even the highest tech security system. The nature of his work makes it hard for him to settle down anywhere, so after his mother’s death, he travels around the country, never staying in one city long enough to become suspicious. In New Orleans, though, he makes connections and finds a familylike bond with fellow thief Sebastien. But when he joins Sebastien on a job for a dangerous client named Carter LaPorte, Harry’s life changes forever. Harry moves on and tries to start a low-key life as a college student in Chapel Hill, where he falls for an aspiring writer named Miranda Emerson. But LaPorte isn’t ready to let go of Harry, and he uses threats to Harry’s aunt—and Miranda—to force Harry into working for him again. Harry abandons Miranda and spends years on the run. That is, until he finally gets the chance to take LaPorte down—with Miranda’s help. Roberts takes her time setting up Harry’s character and his motivations, making it easy for the reader to sympathize with a thief who has a code of honor and a deep love for his family. But since the first half of the book is largely an exploration of Harry’s character, the story drags a bit. Once Harry and Miranda’s love story starts in earnest and LaPorte reappears, the plot picks up. The story’s strength, however, lies less in the thrill of Harry’s break-ins and more in the complexities of his touching relationships with his mother, his quirky phone-psychic aunt, Sebastien, and Miranda.

A thoughtful exploration of one thief’s motivations and relationships, featuring a healthy dose of romance and suspense.

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7819-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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