An intriguing ride through the bumpy landscape of U.S. politics, with a healthy dose of deception and corruption.

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The Chimera Collusion

An action-packed political thriller that rotates between multiple characters and their dark, dangerous worlds.

In Knedgen’s debut novel, U.S. politics are a means to achieve world domination by any means necessary. This includes drugging a young woman named Kim into wooing high-level politicians into bed, where she ultimately kills them. The goal is to eliminate the competition so that the power-hungry overlords win the presidential election and commence their reign of control through the media, in wars, regulations and more. However, the drugs’ effects start to wear off, and memories of Kim’s victims begin to haunt her. The impact of these flashbacks debilitates Kim and causes her to question everything. If it weren’t for Street and Angie, who help her put the pieces of the puzzle together, Kim would be lost for good. These intriguing, well-developed characters have a surprising number of layers to them. In particular, Street, who spends his days hustling on the street corner, works hard to maintain his tough facade, but his soft underbelly reveals itself when it comes to his Grandma Mae. After listening to Street’s conversation with his grandma over the phone, Angie and Kim “saw him in a new light. Kim couldn’t resist.” “Keep that to yourself,” Street says. “Can’t have my image being ruined.” However, the depth of conspiracy in the political turmoil can be hard to digest since there are an implausible number of bad guys with corrupt agendas. In addition, the story is at times unnecessarily violent. In the first chapter, for example, a brutal scene of a woman being attacked is foisted upon the reader. While the blunt impact of this opening was perhaps meant to act as a lure, it ultimately feels more like an assault on the senses.

An intriguing ride through the bumpy landscape of U.S. politics, with a healthy dose of deception and corruption.

Pub Date: March 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482634754

Page Count: 250

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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