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ELEVENTH GRAVE IN MOONLIGHT

The 11th from Jones (The Curse of Tenth Grave, 2016, etc.) is densely packed with supernatural problems, sex scenes not for...

Now that the Grim Reaper has become a god, she’s having a hard time dealing with her new powers.

Whatever else you can say about it, Charley Davidson’s life isn’t dull. Charley, aka the Grim Reaper, moonlights as a private eye, occasionally helping out the Albuquerque police in the form of her Uncle Bob, who's currently marked for death. She and her strikingly handsome husband, Reyes Alexander Farrow, aka Rey’aziel, son of Satan, have had to send away their daughter to protect her from a dangerous god who wants her dead. The new case she’s taken up over Reyes’ objections is the search for the birth parents of Reyes’ sort-of-brother, Shawn, who was raised by the Fosters, the vile people who kidnapped both boys, kept Shawn, and sold Reyes to a monster. The disappearance of another child suggests they may be up to their old tricks. At the same time, Charley and Uncle Bob have set up a sting operation to try to catch whomever is sending sexually threatening text messages to Charley’s niece, Amber. While Reyes, who’s not above using hot sex to influence Charley, does all he can to get her to drop the investigation into the Fosters, he’s also trying to teach her how to use her powers as a god. Charley, who’s constantly being watched by angels after threatening the Almighty, stubbornly refuses to give up. To her horror, a lot of innocent people get hurt along the way.

The 11th from Jones (The Curse of Tenth Grave, 2016, etc.) is densely packed with supernatural problems, sex scenes not for the timid, and assorted complicated mysteries. Boning up on the 10 proceeding installments may be a prerequisite for making sense of this one.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-07821-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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DEVOLUTION

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

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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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THE DARK FOREST

From the Remembrance of Earth's Past series , Vol. 2

Once again, a highly impressive must-read.

Second part of an alien-contact trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, 2014) from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In the previous book, the inhabitants of Trisolaris, a planet with three suns, discovered that their planet was doomed and that Earth offered a suitable refuge. So, determined to capture Earth and exterminate humanity, the Trisolarans embarked on a 400-year-long interstellar voyage and also sent sophons (enormously sophisticated computers constructed inside the curled-up dimensions of fundamental particles) to spy on humanity and impose an unbreakable block on scientific advance. On Earth, the Earth-Trisolaris Organization formed to help the invaders, despite knowing the inevitable outcome. Humanity’s lone advantage is that Trisolarans are incapable of lying or dissimulation and so cannot understand deceit or subterfuge. This time, with the Trisolarans a few years into their voyage, physicist Ye Wenjie (whose reminiscences drove much of the action in the last book) visits astronomer-turned-sociologist Luo Ji, urging him to develop her ideas on cosmic sociology. The Planetary Defense Council, meanwhile, in order to combat the powerful escapist movement (they want to build starships and flee so that at least some humans will survive), announces the Wallfacer Project. Four selected individuals will be accorded the power to command any resource in order to develop plans to defend Earth, while the details will remain hidden in the thoughts of each Wallfacer, where even the sophons can't reach. To combat this, the ETO creates Wallbreakers, dedicated to deducing and thwarting the plans of the Wallfacers. The chosen Wallfacers are soldier Frederick Tyler, diplomat Manuel Rey Diaz, neuroscientist Bill Hines, and—Luo Ji. Luo has no idea why he was chosen, but, nonetheless, the Trisolarans seem determined to kill him. The plot’s development centers on Liu’s dark and rather gloomy but highly persuasive philosophy, with dazzling ideas and an unsettling, nonlinear, almost nonnarrative structure that demands patience but offers huge rewards.

Once again, a highly impressive must-read.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7708-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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