A satisfying continuation of a moody, stylish series.

READ REVIEW

MONSTERS

From the Reckoner series , Vol. 2

Robertson (Strangers, 2018, etc.) returns to the adventures of First Nations teenager Cole Harper in this supernatural YA sequel.

Cole is still in Wounded Sky First Nation after helping to end a murder spree and cure a local epidemic in the previous series installment. He’s grieving the death of some friends, and he continues to struggle with anxiety. Luckily, he still has some pals to lean on: his classmates Eva and Brady, as well as Pam, a girl he’s just starting to get to know at his new school. Other acquaintances include Jayne, a teenage ghost who’s mysteriously gone missing; and Choch, a coyote spirit who appears to be Cole’s gym teacher. Cole doesn’t have much time to settle in at school before things start to get crazy again. A new terror is stalking Wounded Sky: a creature wandering Blackwood Forest at night, which locals are identifying as “Upayokwitigo.” “It means He Who Lives Alone in Cree,” explains Eva, although even getting people to say the name is difficult—it’s regarded as a curse. As Cole investigates the creature, he also tries to figure out why so many strangers are showing up at the local health clinic; he also wants to get to the bottom of what caused the accident that killed his father 10 years ago. Can Cole stare down the monsters that haunt him—from within and from without? Robertson’s prose effectively captures the magical balance of humor and spookiness that brings good supernatural fantasy novels to life. As a result, his lively characters are easy for readers to latch onto. At one point, for example, Brady amusingly grouses to Cole: “Every single person who’s seen that thing has seen it in the woods, at night. At night, which it is right now, and in the woods, which is where you’re talking about going.” The plot of this installment builds directly on that of the previous volume; this setup makes the beginning a little slow and sluggish, as old characters and animosities get reintroduced and rehashed. The ending, however, is so unexpected that readers will eagerly anticipate a third volume.

A satisfying continuation of a moody, stylish series.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55379-748-7

Page Count: 260

Publisher: HighWater Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Garrett’s failure to produce any sympathetic characters makes her debut tough going.

THE LAST TO DIE

Burglaries turn deadly for a group of spoiled teenagers.

Harper, Alex, Sarah, Paisley, Benji, and Gin come from similarly privileged homes. Their parents make up for a lack of commitment to their high school offspring by providing unfettered access to life’s material benefits: cars, clothes, and costly vacations. When getting drunk on booze filched from their folks’ well-stocked liquor cabinets palls, they invent an exciting new game. Each time one of the teens’ families goes skiing in Vail or snorkeling in the Bahamas, a designated member of the pack breaks into the unattended house and collects an assortment of trophies to be pawned for ready cash. The rules of the looting are strict. Only one member breaks into each house, nothing is to be stolen that can’t be replaced with insurance money, and nothing stolen from other members of the group. Harper adds one more rule: no stealing from her deaf sister, Maggie. After one full round of felonious fun, the wheels start to come off the crime spree. Sarah dies from a drug overdose. The police can’t decide if it’s an accident or suicide, but Harper is sure it’s neither. She thinks Sarah is too smart to overdose on her own and too conceited to kill herself. And since no one outside her little group exists for Harper, one of her fellow thieves must have killed her. Going to the authorities is a no-go because it would reveal the group’s role in the burglaries and spoil their chances of admission to an Ivy League college. So Harper and her chums sit around and wait to see if anything else bad happens. It does. Unfortunately, even Harper’s protectiveness toward her sister carries its own whiff of smugness.

Garrett’s failure to produce any sympathetic characters makes her debut tough going.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-929345-30-4

Page Count: 206

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bulky, balky, talky.

THE DA VINCI CODE

In an updated quest for the Holy Grail, the narrative pace remains stuck in slo-mo.

But is the Grail, in fact, holy? Turns out that’s a matter of perspective. If you’re a member of that most secret of clandestine societies, the Priory of Sion, you think yes. But if your heart belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, the Grail is more than just unholy, it’s downright subversive and terrifying. At least, so the story goes in this latest of Brown’s exhaustively researched, underimagined treatise-thrillers (Deception Point, 2001, etc.). When Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon—in Paris to deliver a lecture—has his sleep interrupted at two a.m., it’s to discover that the police suspect he’s a murderer, the victim none other than Jacques Saumière, esteemed curator of the Louvre. The evidence against Langdon could hardly be sketchier, but the cops feel huge pressure to make an arrest. And besides, they don’t particularly like Americans. Aided by the murdered man’s granddaughter, Langdon flees the flics to trudge the Grail-path along with pretty, persuasive Sophie, who’s driven by her own need to find answers. The game now afoot amounts to a scavenger hunt for the scholarly, clues supplied by the late curator, whose intent was to enlighten Sophie and bedevil her enemies. It’s not all that easy to identify these enemies. Are they emissaries from the Vatican, bent on foiling the Grail-seekers? From Opus Dei, the wayward, deeply conservative Catholic offshoot bent on foiling everybody? Or any one of a number of freelancers bent on a multifaceted array of private agendas? For that matter, what exactly is the Priory of Sion? What does it have to do with Leonardo? With Mary Magdalene? With (gulp) Walt Disney? By the time Sophie and Langdon reach home base, everything—well, at least more than enough—has been revealed.

Bulky, balky, talky.

Pub Date: March 18, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50420-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more