An inventive and humorous but overly chaotic read.

DON'T FLOSS

A hapless detective clashes with violent drug dealers and renegade dentists in DeMicoli’s raucous adventure set in a town outside Oakland, California.

Down-on-his-luck private eye Hugo Picoli arrives at his storefront office to find a potential client waiting for him: Farrah Mason, who says that her husband, Jolly, a prominent dentist, has disappeared. Recently, Jolly’s mother, Lady Mason, drove her Rolls-Royce into a pole after being frightened by the antics of skateboarding teenager Mill Moffett. According to Farrah, the last time anyone saw Jolly “was when he dragged that Mill kid outta his trailer, stuffed him in the trunk, and sped off to who-knows-where.” Farrah hands Hugo $10,000 in cash and asks him to track her spouse down, suggesting that he look for clues at the Crowns Social Club, a hangout for the upscale dentist crowd. Before Hugo sets off on his new assignment, DeMicoli pauses to fill in details about the PI’s less-than-illustrious two-year career with the Soma Arbor Spring police department. Later, at the clubhouse, Hugo has some preliminary misadventures which result in him receiving gold veneers, and he’s offered a few magic mushrooms—giving the author the opportunity to take readers on a frenzied psychedelic ride. Like other episodes in the novel, it’s creative and colorful but challenging to follow. The main plotline revolves around a grudge involving the head of the nation’s largest dental floss manufacturer, but readers will quickly discover that the author indulges in digressions far too frequently. He also fills his cast with an assortment of misanthropic, garishly clothed characters with quirky names (including Veggie Dave, Chicky Smitt, and Gator Booth) that require a scorecard to keep straight. Still, tech-oriented readers are likely to enjoy the collection of imaginative devices that Picoli and his cop colleague Kirby Pocket design, such as an inflatable protective bubble that whisks someone out of a dangerous situation.

An inventive and humorous but overly chaotic read.

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Review Posted Online: May 15, 2021

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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