A thrilling tale loaded with bullets, bloodshed, and bodies that stars a daring veteran.

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A bored cabbie tempts fate by attaching himself to a gunslinging gangster and his female operative.      

Prolific British writer Dash’s (Midsummer’s Bottom, 2018, etc.) latest novel stars Eyrie Brown, a hard-drinking London taxi driver who, while lamenting his dull life, witnesses a shootout between several East End gangsters. One of the bloodied gunmen, Lewis Brue, rushes out of an alley and accepts the cabbie’s swift offer of a ride. Brue counters with an offer of his own to have Brown work covertly for him. As a former British soldier who returned from his enlistment “directionless and penniless,” Brown, abandoning his hopes to become a pro boxer, accepts Brue’s lucrative “business” proposition to do a job for 25,000 pounds. The author deftly paints his protagonist as hardscrabble and desperate for meaning in his life, but also possibly suffering from PTSD as he becomes increasingly reckless. The job appears innocent enough at first, but there’s a catch: “babysit” a young woman named Toni Curtis for a weekend, but “fight or flee” if armed henchmen arrive at his apartment looking for her. It quickly becomes clear to Brown that lewd, cocky Toni isn’t just an average woman needing special protection. Though he employs the kind of physical and tactical talent that kept him alive throughout his stint in the military, he proves no match for the cunning, gun- and knife-toting Toni after he carelessly takes her to a bare-knuckles boxing match and then a bar where trouble boils over, leaving three patrons dead. Panicked relocations only lead to more chaos and Toni’s kidnapping as Brown attempts to return the money and bow out but ends up being the one in the mob’s crosshairs. In this page-turning tale, Dash supplies plenty of rousing action and deadly gangster machinations to satisfy mob-flavored fiction fans. But it’s his knack for creating classic scene-stealing villains with names like Smurf, Spursy, and Rabbit that really deserves the applause. The author is also careful not to let things peter out as his bold protagonist finds a new lease on life. The rousing story’s rescue mission conclusion is as bloody and cinematic as its opening scenes. 

A thrilling tale loaded with bullets, bloodshed, and bodies that stars a daring veteran. 

Pub Date: N/A

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Page Count: -

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2019

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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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DEVOLUTION

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

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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