This compelling thriller should be required reading for our national leaders and translated into Mandarin.



A frightening look at how a major-power showdown might race out of control.

It’s 2034, and the Chinese are sick and tired of the U.S. Navy violating their territorial waters with “freedom of navigation patrols.” Near the Spratly Islands and Mischief Reef, a Navy ship stops to aid the incapacitated trawler Wén Rui. But there’s something fishy about the boat (hint: electronics), so the Navy holds it. Thousands of miles away, an unknown force takes control of the F-35 piloted by Maj. Chris “Wedge” Mitchell over the Strait of Hormuz, and he becomes a prisoner in Iran. China will arrange for the F-35’s return in exchange for the trawler, but what they really want is a confrontation and uncontested control of the South China Sea. They put a cyber stranglehold on the U.S., cause a nationwide blackout, and sink several American naval vessels, believing the conflict will be limited and China’s victory will be total. But murder a few thousand people here and a few thousand there, and pretty soon you have a “needless war” in which the dead number in the millions. And this is only with tactical nukes. This novel starts out like a Tom Clancy thriller, but whether Wedge Mitchell is more like Jack Ryan or Dr. Strangelove is for the reader to decide. Maybe Wedge just wants to live up to the military legacy of his Pop and Pop-Pop and then go light up a celebratory Marlboro. Better that than lighting up the Chinese coast. Among the colorful cast of characters are a Chinese admiral with an American mother, an American security official with family in India, and a female U.S. president who, despite a fair number of references, is never named. Finally, an elegiac coda describes an aftermath wished for by no one. Unlike with the never-ending Clancy series, it’s hard to imagine a sequel to this dark warning about human folly and miscalculation.

This compelling thriller should be required reading for our national leaders and translated into Mandarin.

Pub Date: tomorrow

ISBN: 978-1-984881-25-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A hotel built on the grounds of a sanatorium has more dead bodies than paying guests.

A police detective on sabbatical after flubbing a case, Elin Warner travels with her boyfriend, Will, to Le Sommet, a remote, glass-walled, five-star hotel in the Swiss Alps, at the invitation of her estranged brother, Isaac. Isaac is throwing a party to celebrate his engagement to Laure, assistant manager at the hotel, which has been the focus of local controversy due to its shadowy history. Elin's creepy feelings about the trip are quickly confirmed as a storm cuts off access to the mountain, a receptionist is kidnapped, a dead body is found in the snow, and Laure disappears. As overloaded, grisly, and ultimately silly as Pearse's locked-room debut may be, the biggest mystery is how Elin ever made it out of the police academy. As she slowly reasons her way through the unfolding situation, her deductions of even the most obvious points appear in italics—"That means Laure has another phone." "This…it isn't an accident. She's been killed. This is murder"—as do what seem to be the protagonist’s questions to herself about how to move things along. "So where could they have gone?" "So what are my next steps going to be?" "She examines the glass balustrade in front of her. Can I get over it?" What Elin can't get over is a tragedy in her childhood for which she holds her brother responsible; it comes up every few pages until being resolved with a not-too-believable twist that may or may not be retwisted in a mystifying epilogue. Fortunately for Elin, she does have a few insider tricks up her sleeve. "She knows that there is an app called Find My would show the last location where it had a signal." Wait. Why are you laughing? This is a thriller!

Oh, dear.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-59-329667-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Hitler may not live, but Heil Hitler is alive and all too well.


The rise of a neo-fascist with deep roots in the Third Reich pulls not-exactly-retired Justice Department agent Cotton Malone back for a 16th round of international intrigue.

A specter is haunting Europe. No, not the coronavirus but Theodor Pohl, an insurgent German nationalist who’s set his sights first on toppling long-serving chancellor Marie Eisenhuth, then on making the Fatherland great again—really, really great. Barely have Malone and his lover and comrade in arms Cassiopeia Vitt dusted themselves off from their leap from their mortally wounded plane in Poland on a single parachute than ex-President Danny Daniels is packing them off to Chile to investigate rumors that Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, and Martin Bormann didn’t all die in that bunker in 1945; at least one of them escaped to South America with billions in Nazi gold. The trip to Chile produces some eye-popping revelations and whittles down the cast, but instead of settling matters for good, it propels Malone and Vitt to South Africa for further investigations among people determined to be left alone until their time has come. Meanwhile, back in Germany, the chancellor realizes that she’s being undermined by not only Pohl and his ruthless acolyte, Josef Engle, but her xenophobic husband, Kurt Eisenhuth, whose past is even more checkered than she knows. Cannily mixing historical research with florid inventions that fill in gaps and sometimes fly in the face of the available evidence, Berry presents an ominously up-to-date world whose frenzied nationalism is a direct descendant of the Thousand-Year Reich.

Hitler may not live, but Heil Hitler is alive and all too well.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-4034-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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