An appealing mix of adventure and contemplation.

READ REVIEW

WATERSHED

Dodds (Windfall, 2014, etc.) delivers a speculative novel about a powerful former politician and those he seeks to manipulate.     

When Raquel, a prostitute, is thrown out of an airplane midflight, it seem like she’s as good as dead. During the flight, she’d been having sex with a man of many aliases—a former U.S. senator named Robert Hurley, who’s wealthy beyond imagination. (He previously appeared in Windfall, which introduced this novel’s world of corruption and violence.) Fortunately, Raquel was wearing a parachute when she was ejected, and she happens to land in the vicinity of a gentle soul named Norwood, a former sculptor who makes a precarious living breeding snakes and doing odd jobs. He’s also a Luddite who shuns technology, including cellphones and the internet, and he lives in an area where others feel the same. As Norwood and Raquel form an unlikely bond, Hurley becomes obsessed with tracking down the latter. He enlists the help of his passionate assistant, Tyra, who, in turn, enlists the help of a financial adviser named Gavin after she sees him tear a pigeon in half on a Manhattan street. Who, if anyone, in this strange assemblage will come out on top? As the story grows more complex, adding hit men, former hit men, and a bizarre commemoration of the 9/11 attacks to the mix, readers will never be quite sure what lurks around the next corner. The tale effectively tackles such timely concerns as the lack of security in social media and the idea that someone as well-off as Hurley can do just about anything he wants (“Illegal is only another word for expensive,” the former senator explains), and it offers meditations on the dangers of technology and money. Although the story can seem heavy-handed at times—would people who dislike cellphones really form whole neighborhoods just to avoid them?—it provides plenty of action to counter its more ponderous moments.

An appealing mix of adventure and contemplation.

Pub Date: May 12, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 325

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more