An involving installment of an offbeat detective’s journey toward redemption.

MY GRAVE IS DEEP

While tracking a vengeful sniper, a private investigator slowly begins to form a new family in Florida in Williams’ (Tears of God, 2014) crime novel.

Noah Greene, a fan of such fictional detectives as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, left his family and his job as an insurance investigator in Cleveland to become a private eye in Miami. As penance for abandoning his family, he specializes in helping people find missing relatives. He inherited a fortune from one of his clients, so he can pick cases that truly speak to him. In this third volume of Williams’ series, Noah has grown as a detective following a tragedy. His son Jeb was kidnapped in 2014’s Tears of God, and he remains mute and institutionalized months later. Meanwhile, the local police have no love for Noah, as they don’t appreciate amateurs on their turf; he also has to deal with his bickering housemates, journalist Charlie Hall and ex-con Mickey, and his lawyer-turned-lover Kay Woodson. Noah takes on a couple of cases involving a father who disappeared 15 years ago and a Marine sniper who’s suspected of killing his squad-mates. He discovers that neither one is as straightforward as it initially appears, and he and his friends soon find themselves in danger. Williams continues Noah’s education in the school of hard knocks in this thriller, but he engagingly develops the character along the way. Noah is slowly honing his sleuthing instincts, for example, which serve him well, as his clients and witnesses constantly lie to him. He’s also learned how to accept help, taking on Charlie and Mickey as sidekicks. The author does an admirable job of sprinkling false leads throughout for Noah and police detective Seth Larkin to chase. The narrative’s pace follows that of Noah’s investigation, full of starts and stops. However, Noah’s empathy for those he helps is consistent throughout, which does make him sympathetic—despite his ill-conceived decision to desert his own family.

An involving installment of an offbeat detective’s journey toward redemption.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 518

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2019

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

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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