This flight never gets off the ground. Hopefully Bell will return to form next time.


An airport meet-cute goes south in Bell’s (Somebody I Used to Know, 2018, etc.) new thriller.

Poor Joshua Fields. All he does is travel for his job as a real estate developer with his father’s company. He’s tired, bored, and ready to settle down. Enter Morgan Reynolds. After meeting Joshua at an airport gift shop in Atlanta, she agrees to get a drink with him. Who is this tall, ridiculously beautiful woman in the hat and giant sunglasses? Joshua plans to find out. After a drink and a bit of conversation, Joshua is properly starry-eyed, and when Morgan plants a passionate kiss on him, he’s truly a goner. So, it’s a bummer when she firmly tells him she has to go and that they won’t be seeing each other again. Most people would count the experience as an oddity and get on with their lives, but not our Joshua. He throws caution to the wind and changes his flight, but Morgan pretends not to know Joshua when he confronts her on the plane, making him feel like an “aggressive creep, a stalker, a weirdo.” Well, if the shoe fits. When he touches down in Nashville, Joshua sees Morgan’s face on TV, and when he looks her up on Facebook, he’s stunned to see a post headlined “Have You Seen Morgan? Missing Person.” After telling his story to the airport police, he decides that Morgan surely needs his help and sets off to find her. Meanwhile, in Laurel Falls, Kentucky, Detective Kimberly Givens is on the hunt for Giles Caldwell, a prominent local businessman who has disappeared, and the trail leads to Morgan Reynolds. Nearly everyone involved in this paper-thin thriller, with the exception of Detective Givens, seems to be suffering from an alarming lack of common sense, and they’re not nearly interesting enough to make up for it. Bell makes a lot of hay over Joshua’s need to break free of his everyday grind, but that doesn’t excuse his going to such great lengths to follow a woman after she repeatedly brushes him off. Readers desperately hoping to be rewarded with a few shocking revelations upon reaching the end of this dull cat-and-mouse game will be disappointed.

This flight never gets off the ground. Hopefully Bell will return to form next time.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-440-00086-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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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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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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