A twisty, genre-blending story that starts with a bang and never slows down.
Awards & Accolades
In Day’s debut fantasy thriller, an explosion at the SoCal Arcane Exchange entangles a crystal engineer known as “the Maker” in a dangerous mystery.
Sam “Rick” Rickard is capable of manufacturing magical crystals that are more powerful than any seen before. He sells an especially powerful one for $10 million to the SoCal Arcane Exchange with a stern warning to his buyers not to split it, as “bad things will happen” if they do. He plans to use the money to help his recently orphaned nephew, Ben. But just moments after he leaves the SAE representatives, a massive explosion rocks the city, suggesting that his customers didn’t listen to what he told them—and now the authorities, including the FBI and an arcane-certified investigative squad, are after him. In addition, the larger-than-life magic-user Aka’weyo and his ever growing army of foot soldiers want Rick’s crystals for their own purposes. The powerful, charismatic leader has figured out a way to harness the power of crystal magic to control people’s minds with a simple touch; the devastation he could wreak if he obtained Rick’s crystals is unimaginable. Day’s tale is a thrilling mix of police procedural and fantasy adventure; he’s particularly deft at weaving magical touches into an otherwise realistic and familiar world. Such details, from an image of a wand casually sitting on a desk in the opening pages to a bird’s-eye view of Aka’weyo’s astral projections, transform this straightforward story into something that’s far more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps most impressive is that the relationship between Rick and Ben manages to be just as engaging as the countless explosions and battles that occur around them, and Ben later makes a discovery that raises the stakes further. Rick’s attempts to simultaneously save his nephew and the world result in an action-packed adventure with a strong heart.A twisty, genre-blending story that starts with a bang and never slows down.
Pub Date: Dec. 19, 2021
Page Count: 381
Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Stephen King ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 5, 2023
Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.
A much-beloved author gives a favorite recurring character her own novel.
Holly Gibney made her first appearance in print with a small role in Mr. Mercedes (2014). She played a larger role in The Outsider (2018). And she was the central character in If It Bleeds, a novella in the 2020 collection of the same name. King has said that the character “stole his heart.” Readers adore her, too. One way to look at this book is as several hundred pages of fan service. King offers a lot of callbacks to these earlier works that are undoubtedly a treat for his most loyal devotees. That these easter eggs are meaningless and even befuddling to new readers might make sense in terms of costs and benefits. King isn’t exactly an author desperate to grow his audience; pleasing the people who keep him at the top of the bestseller lists is probably a smart strategy, and this writer achieved the kind of status that whatever he writes is going to be published. Having said all that, it’s possible that even his hardcore fans might find this story a bit slow. There are also issues in terms of style. Much of the language King uses and the cultural references he drops feel a bit creaky. The word slacks occurs with distracting frequency. King uses the phrase keeping it on the down-low in a way that suggests he probably doesn’t understand how this phrase is currently used—and has been used for quite a while. But the biggest problem is that this narrative is framed as a mystery without delivering the pleasures of a mystery. The reader knows who the bad guys are from the start. This can be an effective storytelling device, but in this case, waiting for the private investigator heroine to get to where the reader is at the beginning of the story feels interminable.Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.
Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023
Page Count: 464
Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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SEEN & HEARD
by Michael Connelly ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.
The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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