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THE BOOK OF LAMPS AND BANNERS

Part The Club Dumas, part The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all punk attitude and beautiful ache.

In a dystopian world of heavy fog, Nazi demonstrations, and a creeping virus, photographer Cass Neary searches for an ancient book that might have supernatural power.

Cass is a wreck. She’s lost her camera; she hasn’t heard from the love of her life, ex-con Quinn O’Boyle, in several days; and she’s jonesing for alcohol, speed, or anything else she can get her hands on. When she runs into rare-book runner Gryffin Haselton in London, he confesses that he’s about to make the sale of a lifetime to up-and-coming tech genius Tindra Bergstrand: a mysterious, arcane book that may have been written by Aristotle. Of course, things go horribly wrong: The middleman is murdered, and Cass and Gryffin escape only to be picked up by Tindra’s people. It turns out that Tindra wants the Aristotle text to scan into an app she’s developing that's supposed to heal the brains of people suffering from PTSD—but when Cass gets a glimpse of the Ludus Mentis app, she flashes back viscerally to the greatest trauma of her life. Reunited with Quinn, Cass is soon on the run, dodging neo-Nazis as they rally in London and following clues to a remote Scandinavian island, hoping that if she recovers the book it could pay her and Quinn’s way to a new start. Cass is walking wounded; still she views the world through the eyes of a true artist, an artist who feels the full weight of her calling. “Because what is a photographer,” she asks, “but a chooser of the slain, someone who decides who or what is destined for immortality?” Cass Neary is a tough, self-destructive character who still exudes compassion, courage, and love for the beauty and the pain of life—even more so because she recognizes its impermanence.

Part The Club Dumas, part The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all punk attitude and beautiful ache.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-31648-593-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

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Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE SILENT PATIENT

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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