A fast-paced crackerjack tale, solidly plotted and a pleasure to read.

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THE THIRD DAY

A team of adventurers searches through time for a missing Nobel prizewinner.

Former Army Intelligence operative Bill Culloden is asked by hedge-fund manager Jonah Markowitz to find physicist Henry Bryson, who was working on a trading algorithm to beat the markets. Along with Markowitz’s son, Ray, Culloden heads to Boston to question Bryson’s wife, Juliet, who discloses that she and her husband became millionaires—by sending buy orders for Walmart and Cisco back in time. It seems Bryson is dead—he died around 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem on a time-travel mission gone awry. After obtaining Bryson’s exact coordinates at his death, Culloden, Markowitz, archaeologist Dr. Robert Lavon and lovely Sharon Bergfield head back to the Jerusalem of Jesus’ time, where they encounter some lethally efficient Roman soldiers not completely convinced by their back story. The team crosses paths with Pilate, Herod and Jesus, as they fight to survive in a time of leprosy, torture, gladiator combat and crucifixion—and possibly corroborate the resurrection, if they live long enough. Among the book’s strengths, and there are many, is placing the reader at the scene of the days surrounding one of the most significant events in our history. The author creates scene after scene of people taking care of everyday business—bathing, preparing food, conducting religious ceremonies, caring for the sick. Another plus is a cast of characters motivated by the joy of discovery, rather than money, lust, fame or any of the typical self-serving interests. While the plot incorporates events surrounding Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, the tale never dissolves into a simple retelling of the Gospels. Once the action starts, it never lets up until the final page. Some nifty state-of-the-art gadgets would do James Bond proud, including an ear-bud all-language translator and a bandage that, after healing near-fatal wounds, disappears into the flesh. Although the story unfolds from Culloden’s viewpoint, this is an ensemble play, requiring that each character eventually take center stage. It all comes together beautifully for a satisfying, nick-of-time conclusion.

A fast-paced crackerjack tale, solidly plotted and a pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983841128

Page Count: 396

Publisher: David M. Epperson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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