An entertaining series denouement that runs at full tilt.

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FALSEFLAGS

From the Spies Lie series , Vol. 10

Two newlyweds on their honeymoon, a hacker and a former Mossad assassin, learn of a potentially dangerous covert op in the 10th installment of the Spies Lie thriller series. 

Stanford University senior Ann Sashakovich has just faced off against a rogue artificial intelligence, with help from the AI she and fellow students built. But now she has more pressing issues, such as choosing a career path and marrying the much older man she loves, Jon Sommers, a former Mossad operative. Amid ongoing classes and impending interviews with potential employers ranging from the CIA to Google, Ann must also persuade her adoptive parents to OK her wedding. They’re uncomfortable with the couple’s age discrepancy, and Jon is their boss at the U.N. Paramilitary Force. Then Mossad director Avram Shimmel reactivates Jon so he can help track down terrorists in Israel whose bomb killed hundreds, including Avram’s wife. Ann reluctantly agrees to accept the offer of an accompanying job as a Mossad hacker, provided she and Jon first tie the knot. Unfortunately, the newlyweds’ London honeymoon puts them somewhat near a dead drop in Scotland—blueprints for a military weapon linked to the bombing. The couple go on an Edinburgh whisky tour for intel—until someone desperate for a vital thumb drive starts knocking off tourists; honeymoon or not, Jon wants to get to the bottom of it. Kane (brAInbender, 2018, etc.) jam-packs his story with easy-to-keep-track-of characters, including returning ones such as Ann’s parents, Lee Ainsley, and the original series protagonist, Cassie Sashakovich. Moreover, narrative shifts among so many people make for brief scenes and a consistently speedy pace. The story lacks a few pertinent details: Ann and Jon’s trip from London to Edinburgh, for example, has an inexplicable 18-day gap. Still, it’s exhilarating to watch Ann’s intermittent displays of special talents, such as the ability to access the internet mentally, stemming from a prior nanodevice overdose. Although this book is said to be the last in the series, some characters’ open endings leave room for spinoffs.

An entertaining series denouement that runs at full tilt.

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9996554-7-4

Page Count: 283

Publisher: Swiftshadow Group, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2020

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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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