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LET FLOWERS BE FLOWERS

A dark, uneven character study of a twisted mind.

In this thriller, a decidedly unbalanced hunter stalks human prey in Wisconsin forests.

Mason Owens; his little brother, Paul; and their friends load up for their yearly deer hunt. They’ve got acres of the Owens family land to track the animals for as long as “gun season” allows. But tragedy strikes; one of the men dies in an apparent suicide. While they have trouble believing their friend killed himself, the hunt goes on—and only gets worse. Locals are shocked to learn that the friends, it seems, turned their guns on one another. Readers know that a man called The Hunter is the likely culprit. He’s a coldblooded killer living in a remote cabin near the Owenses’ land, and he had eyes on the hunting party since they set up camp. Meanwhile, game warden Ross Parent launches an investigation that ultimately takes him to Minnesota, where his hunt for a proficient killer becomes a fight for survival. Rehm’s novel feels like a collection of three novellas. It first introduces a dispassionate boy who learns to take lives, shifts perspective to Mason’s hunting party, and then zeroes in on Ross’ investigation. The Hunter’s opening origin is effectively disturbing, and his terrifying presence pervades the novel. Mason’s story, however, isn’t as strong; these graceless deer hunters won’t earn much sympathy, ranging from a drunk to a convicted wife abuser. Nevertheless, the forests, where most of the book takes place, practically cover the pages in vibrant scenery. This setting, even if it’s a killer’s playground, truly shines: “The woods grew dark here, buried in the shadow of rock under a canopy of ancient white pine.” The final act provides an unforgettable closing scene.

A dark, uneven character study of a twisted mind.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73751-547-0

Page Count: 508

Publisher: Rudbeckia Productions LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

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MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

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Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE SILENT PATIENT

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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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. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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