Part character study, part drug-induced nightmare—take a hit.


Set in the American Southwest, Stackhouse’snovel follows a recovering addict escaping the grasp of her vicious ex-lover, but once she begins settling into a new, comfortable life, she discovers her ugly past has been on her tail since the moment she left.

Tiny, now an aging desert punker nearing her 30s, went in and out of broken homes and foster care as a child, making her vulnerable with a tough-as-nails exterior—a recipe, in this case, for drawing in the wrong kind of people. She spends years going on tour as a drummer in the band Nowhoresville and, after a show, meets Kyle, a good-looking hospital attendant capable of turning her on in ways she could never imagine. Kyle and Tiny begin an odd, secluded relationship, moving in together, taking drugs, roping a handful of naïve and horny men into twisted threesomes, and generally living a pitiful, gluttonous lifestyle. Shaded by the walls of their apartment, their perverse life together doesn’t exist on the outside. There comes a point, though, when Tiny can’t bear it any longer; she slips through Kyle’s manipulative clutches and runs—fast. In her absence, Kyle is consumed with his desire for revenge, and he gets creative in his madness and sadism, plucking away, seemingly at random, at anyone who has entered or exited Tiny’s life as a means to get to her and make her pay. Some of his most favored captives are the bandmates of Second Gunner,who are held for the entirety of his tumultuous rampage. They fight tooth-and-nail during their imprisonment, buying some time for the final showdown between Kyle and his beloved. The interwoven storylines skip around, reveal and omit in a skillfully crafted narrative that builds on its suspense. Rough and crude to varying degrees, the characters are mostly from the underbelly of the modern Southwest, and Stackhouse marvelously sets up their interactions, giving a taste of the redneck, hard-rock lifestyle. Tiny’s character, in particular, is notably complex and unknowingly manipulative in her passivity. Throughout the novel, her drug-addled memory loss syncs with the bizarre way her story unfolds as if in a clouded dream.

Part character study, part drug-induced nightmare—take a hit.

Pub Date: June 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990422303

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Courtney Stackhouse

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • 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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

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


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?