SHADOWS OF KALALAU

An engaging coming-of-age tale fused with a murder mystery.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A high school graduate’s impetuous beach vacation takes a turn toward homicide in Walsh’s novel.

Ever since Malia Naeole’s mother died about a year ago, the teen’s father has been overprotective. He demands she go to a local Honolulu college instead of her desired Berkeley. “The mainland’s not safe,” he warns her. So Malia, planning an escape of sorts, heads to Kalalau Beach, the same place where her mother conceived her. She really wants to be away for only a couple of weeks, but she’s quickly befriended by a group of campers staying under “sun-bleached tarps” and in aged tents on the sandy shore. As her summer vacay extends, two men continually fascinate Malia: New Zealander Tiki, who seemingly rejects her romantic advances, and Jordan Higgins, a Seattle video game designer on Kalalau for research. The campers consider themselves ohana, or family, but that doesn’t prevent animosity from sparking fights—or even murder. When someone dies, cops round up the campers, convinced that Malia in particular knows more than she’s saying. Malia may have to prove her innocence and come to terms with the possibility that she’d gotten close to a killer. Walsh builds an engrossing mystery. Malia controls much of the narrative, which she relays to Detective Park. Details, from characters’ backstories to the murder itself, gradually come to light for both the detective and readers. Nevertheless, it’s the teenager’s storyline that gives the novel its focus. There’s minimal suspense; characters aren’t in peril very often, but the plot accelerates leading up to the homicide. Walsh’s depiction of the Hawaiian locale—“As they chatted, the sun dropped into the ocean….The clouds that shone moments earlier in sunset hues turned ashen”—augments this absorbing tale.

An engaging coming-of-age tale fused with a murder mystery.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73274-678-7

Page Count: 404

Publisher: Snoke Valley Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 123


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 123


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

FANGIRL DOWN

This golf romance is a winner.

A professional golfer trying to make a comeback hires his biggest fan to be his caddy.

Despondent and demoralized at his terrible season, professional golfer Wells Whitaker decides to quit the pro circuit. He’s already been dumped by his mentor, his sponsors, and his agent—why not throw in the towel himself? The only person left on his side is Josephine Doyle, his most devoted fan, a woman so dedicated to his career that she’s given herself the moniker “Wells’s Belle.” Josephine has been following the golfer’s career for years, and she can’t help but feel betrayed when he abandons the game. After a hurricane destroys her family’s Palm Beach pro shop, Josephine is surprised to find Wells at her door. He’s had a change of heart and is determined to give himself one last chance on the pro circuit. Wells has secured a spot at an upcoming tournament in San Antonio and wants Josephine to be his caddy. She can’t say no. The money she earns will allow her to rebuild the shop and afford health insurance, which is crucial for managing her diabetes. Once they’re at the tournament, their obvious camaraderie and their chemistry make them the target of gossip and speculation in the press. Wells feels intensely possessive and protective of Josephine while still respecting her autonomy, and Josephine learns that her faith in him was not misplaced. Although several of the initial plot pieces feel manufactured, the emotional connection between Josephine and Wells is vibrant and alive. They fit together perfectly, with each growing and benefiting from their professional and romantic partnership. Bailey delivers her trademark high-heat, spicy romance, but it’s the emotional connection between Wells and Josephine that makes the book a winner.

This golf romance is a winner.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9780063308367

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

Close Quickview