With the same winning humor, the Garbageman evolves to face deadlier challengers.

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Cryptic

From the Garbageman series , Vol. 2

In this sequel, an artist finds his psychic powers waning as a serial killer and a supernatural horde descend on Arizona.

It’s been two years since the Bangers shot David Turley and Dr. Newman saved his life. Using the experimental substance Neurogen, the doctor gifted David with healing abilities and telekinesis in Dean’s (Garbageman, 2015) previous installment. Now, David has married girlfriend Julie, and the two artists are enjoying life in Phoenix. One weekend, they visit a Hopi reservation. Julie acquires a new kachina figurine for her collection, and David finds a mysterious man who gives him the corner of a stone tablet. “With this piece of stone comes a great responsibility,” the man tells him. Later, news outlets report that a serial killer called the Fisherman is terrorizing the area, leaving mutilated bodies in his wake. David wonders about his responsibility to the city after using his psychic talent to create a trash monster that fought the Bangers. Recently he’s been visiting Newman—not only to develop a safer version of Neurogen, but also because his powers seem to be vanishing. At his latest appointment, David sits in the waiting room after some tests, anticipating the results. Newman, however, disappears. In this novel, Dean presents his hero—who’s a cross between the Hulk and a dumpster—with some familiar horror villains. Early in the narrative, the ghoulish Fisherman thread brings readers to an underground conclave of vampires and werewolves. The monstrous horde is led by Hellann, whose power over her minions isn’t quite what is seems. Add to this mix some Hopi lore about the shape-shifting Ya Ya, or as David’s mentor Bradley explains, “Have you ever wondered why nobody has ever caught...Bigfoot? It’s because they are Native American skin walkers.” Dean once again keeps the mood fun (at one point, David thinks, “It is time to do some recycling”) yet brutal (a werewolf rips “half a rib cage from a running man”). Sometimes the story flows too placidly, as when David learns about manipulating energy and his “third eye” with little resistance. Horror fans should nevertheless celebrate the author’s flair for demented action and gore.

With the same winning humor, the Garbageman evolves to face deadlier challengers.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5353-6670-0

Page Count: 376

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2016

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King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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This riveting Gothic thriller explores the limits of love, guilt, and punishment.

THE SHAPE OF NIGHT

Running away from the memory of a New Year’s Eve party gone terribly wrong, food writer Ava Collette escapes Boston for a remote Maine village only to face a haunted house and a murder investigation.

Bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series, Gerritsen (I Know a Secret, 2017, etc.) returns with a spellbinding thriller. The focus stays tightly on the experience of the potential victim, Ava, which enables Gerritsen to spin a tight web. Entangled in her own guilt, Ava isolates herself further and further, avoiding calls from her sister and living alone in the ominous Brodie’s Watch mansion, named for its builder, a shipping master lost to sea more than a hundred years ago. Although Brodie’s Watch initially frightens Ava, the moment she steps over the threshold, she feels inexplicably welcomed. Indeed, she is most welcome, as the shadows in her bedroom coalesce into the shape of a man, a man who may well be the ghost of Capt. Brodie. He stalks the house most nights, seducing Ava into not only the passions of love, but also atonement through punishment meted out for her sins. And so Gerritsen shifts a murder mystery into a Gothic thriller, replete with an unsteady widow’s walk, secret alcove, strange smells, ominous sensations, and the ghost. Even the prologue echoes the dream of Manderley from Du Maurier’s Rebecca. But then a dead body washes ashore, and the police investigation suggests the dead woman was killed before she hit the water. Fearful that her spectral lover may be a real-life murderer, Ava inquires about Charlotte Nielson, the young woman who rented Brodie’s Watch before her and left in an inexplicable hurry. But Ava’s investigation uncovers a disturbing list of dead women, which the townspeople seem to have spackled over. Who are they protecting?

This riveting Gothic thriller explores the limits of love, guilt, and punishment.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2095-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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