Next book

THE OTHER EMILY

Tense, scary, and twisty. Horror fans will love it.

Hair-raising suspense laced with horror and a generous mixture of romance flavor Koontz’s latest.

Successful California novelist David Thorne has been haunted for 10 years about the fate of the woman he loves. Twenty-five-year-old Emily Carlino disappeared one dark and stormy night (this story has plenty of those), and Thorne suspects the worst. Meanwhile, Ronald Lee Jessup is in prison for the abduction, torture, rape, and murder of young women. He claims to have abducted 14 more than police know about, but he won’t divulge their names. Thorne visits him in prison under the pretense of writing a book, but he really wants to know if the “homicidal psychopathic sentimentalist” killed Emily. A dead-on Emily look-alike shows up in Thorne’s life, identical right down to the golden birthmark below her navel. She calls herself Maddison Sutton and claims to be an assassin of “extremely wicked people,” the only difference from the gentle Emily, who would never have killed anyone. Otherwise, they are both in the “highest rank of beauties” and both age 25 at the time Thorne knows them. Thorne is understandably mystified and suspects a charade. An honorable man, he will accept no imitations. He wants the real Emily, or to know her fate for certain. His search for truth takes him to the “hideous labyrinthine cellar” of Jessup’s home, and truly scary stuff happens. Koontz has a deft touch with phrasing that sets him apart from many suspense writers: “The fleecy clouds alchemized to gold,” and “The sun had mined a golden treasure from the western sky” are, well, golden examples. On the other hand, he occasionally shifts his wordsmithing machine into overdrive: “Legions of rain marched across the roof, lightning napalmed the sky,” and “a thousand knuckles of rain rapped the windshield.” And in the enough-already category: “Vicious hatred…psychotic hatred…homicidal rage…must have hated…demonic hatred” are all stuffed into one five-line paragraph that apparently relates to hatred.

Tense, scary, and twisty. Horror fans will love it.

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1995-8

Page Count: 362

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

Next book

THEN SHE WAS GONE

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. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Close Quickview