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

THE BOOK OF LAMPS AND BANNERS

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 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A moody tone hangs like a cloud over the alarming but vague danger awaiting the world.

THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD

A tragedy has sent a young artist into seclusion. A potential apocalypse may be enough to bring her back.

For the past two years, 10 months, and 18 days, Katie’s lived in darkness, on retreat from her former life as a rising artist after a personal tragedy eclipsed any happiness she believed possible. Jacob’s Ladder, a remote island named by a former resident for its potential as a stairway to heaven, offers Katie the chance to hide from the rest of the world, merely existing, not healing. She lives each day trying to fulfill what she’s called “the Promise” to those in the life she once knew, though a promise of what is not clear. The closest neighboring islands, Oak Haven and Ringrock, are equally cloistered. Though Katie’s realtor has suggested that Ringrock is some sort of Environmental Protection Agency research station, Katie’s cynicism makes her suspect something more nefarious. The protagonist's remote world and the author’s moody writing are disrupted one night by the startling appearance of drones and the suspicious behavior of a fox Katie’s dubbed Michael J. The wary canine serves as a harbinger of potential danger, and Katie responds by arming herself to the hilt when unexpected guests descend on Jacob’s Ladder. While the true purpose of these visitors is unclear, Katie senses that the greater world is at the precipice of permanent collapse and that she may be the only one who can prevent the impending apocalypse.

A moody tone hangs like a cloud over the alarming but vague danger awaiting the world.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-6625-0044-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

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FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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