An attention-grabbing thriller that pits greed against the environment.

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Proposition

A gripping environmental thriller colored by bloodshed and fueled by money.

Riley Scofield is a lawyer representing Carver Chemical in an environmental legal battle aided by her partner, Anthony Carnahan, a suave mentor of hers who hopes to be much more, professionally and romantically. Anthony is secretly orchestrating a selfish play to get Proposition 9, a voter initiative, passed into law in California, which would force companies to issue a warning if they are possibly polluting, thus opening the door for huge lawsuits and big payouts for himself, the governor and a shady union boss. In the wake of her fiance’s death, Riley tries to distance herself from her family—and from Anthony’s advances—but proves unsuccessful on both accounts when the family business, Scofield Tannery, looks to be the first company involved in a Proposition 9 lawsuit. Carnage, killings and threats follow Riley, with the blame seemingly leading back to Proposition 9 and those who will benefit from it. One bright spot is Riley’s interest in a reporter, Zach Chapel, who, although at first an adversary, turns out to be one of the few people Riley can trust. A strong, fearless lawyer, Riley is tested in ways she could never imagine in her pursuit to save her own life and the lives of the people she cares about. At nearly 600 pages, O’Rourke’s book is fast-paced without losing sight of the details or nuance featured in the courtroom drama. The story mainly follows Riley and Zach, but O’Rourke seamlessly draws in other characters as well—even minor ones—giving certain situations an integral outside viewpoint. In the process, weaving together all the layers and storylines, the narrative travels from San Francisco to Napa Valley to Sacramento and elsewhere, with a few surprisingly brutal turns, especially when a hit man kidnaps a woman and sexually assaults her before killing her. Despite these gruesome moments, fans of thrillers won’t be too shocked; in fact, they’ll read on, ready for more twists.

An attention-grabbing thriller that pits greed against the environment.

Pub Date: May 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479130849

Page Count: 598

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2013

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

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.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

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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