Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Next book

SEARCH FOR AQUASAURUS

An exceptional follow-up with a menacing monster and characters worth rooting for.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

In Lee’s (Him, 2017, etc.) thriller sequel, a group of people who miraculously survived an encounter with a huge, prehistoric crocodile set out to find and stop the creature.

Texas State University student Katie Marshall is suddenly a rich woman; her late father, Clint, left her a sizable inheritance, including assets from a couple of oil companies. She decides to use her wealth to track down the “Aquasaurus”—the media’s moniker for a giant crocodile that she and her friends faced in Lee’s 2016 novel of the same name. Clint’s airplane and boat are now at her disposal, as is pilot and driver Hootie Johnson, his former “right-hand man.” Katie assures her pals Rita Martin, Jesse Perrine, and Jake Haw that she only wants to find the crocodile and then contact authorities to handle it. According to news reports, the Aquasaurus is in Mexican waters, so that’s where Katie and company go. Another survivor from the previous book, earth science professor Tom Morrison, is about to publish a story in Discovery Magazine, but the editors want new pictures of the Aquasaurus to accompany the article. Tom promises them “clear and close-up” photographs and recruits his student assistant, Mark Carter, to accompany him on a trip to Mexico. When the professor learns of the other group’s undertaking, he opts to secretly follow them in lieu of teaming up. This is a potentially dangerous decision, as the area is also populated by pirates and drug runners. And, of course, there’s a massive reptilian creature out there, as well, that has the ability to set traps for its prey. As in the series’ first installment, this novel favors suspense over gory monster attacks. In fact, Lee merely implies much of the violence, and he also keeps the story free of obscenities or explicit sex. Most of the previous novel’s characters return, and the author smartly zeros in on the evolving relationships among them. For example, Jake, who’s been seeing Katie romantically for a few years, is jealous of her easygoing banter with much-older Hootie, while Mark’s periodic obtuseness vexes the professor. Occasional moments from the creature’s perspective generate effective suspense, as readers often know how close the Aquasaurus is to the protagonists—even when they don’t. And the titular croc isn’t the only thing that will put readers on edge; for instance, Hootie is worried about a “device” that Clint left on the boat, and he’s anxious when officers board the vessel and examine the mysterious object. There are also run-ins with another colossal reptile as well as sea lice, which hook tiny spines into human skin. This spotlight-sharing does somewhat diminish the presence of the crocodile, especially as there are so few scenes of its attacks. Lee describes the Aquasaurus realistically, and its most frightening features tend to be those that are shared by regular crocodiles. Nevertheless, it proves to be utterly terrifying in an inevitable clash in the final act.

An exceptional follow-up with a menacing monster and characters worth rooting for.

Pub Date: March 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73211-311-4

Page Count: 419

Publisher: Aim-Hi Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 37


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 37


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Categories:
Next book

THE RUMOR

Once again, Hilderbrand displays her gift for making us care most about her least likable characters.

Hilderbrand’s latest cautionary tale exposes the toxic—and hilarious—impact of gossip on even the most sophisticated of islands.

Eddie and Grace Pancik are known for their beautiful Nantucket home and grounds, financed with the profits from Eddie’s thriving real estate company (thriving before the crash of 2008, that is). Grace raises pedigreed hens and, with the help of hunky landscape architect Benton Coe, has achieved a lush paradise of fowl-friendly foliage. The Panciks’ teenage girls, Allegra and Hope, suffer invidious comparisons of their looks and sex appeal, although they're identical twins. The Panciks’ friends the Llewellyns (Madeline, a blocked novelist, and her airline-pilot husband, Trevor) invested $50,000, the lion’s share of Madeline’s last advance, in Eddie’s latest development. But Madeline, hard-pressed to come up with catalog copy, much less a new novel, is living in increasingly straightened circumstances, at least by Nantucket standards: she can only afford $2,000 per month on the apartment she rents in desperate hope that “a room of her own” will prime the creative pump. Construction on Eddie’s spec houses has stalled, thanks to the aforementioned crash. Grace, who has been nursing a crush on Benton for some time, gives in and a torrid affair ensues, which she ill-advisedly confides to Madeline after too many glasses of Screaming Eagle. With her agent and publisher dropping dire hints about clawing back her advance and Eddie “temporarily” unable to return the 50K, what’s a writer to do but to appropriate Grace’s adultery as fictional fodder? When Eddie is seen entering her apartment (to ask why she rented from a rival realtor), rumors spread about him and Madeline, and after the rival realtor sneaks a look at Madeline’s rough draft (which New York is hotly anticipating as “the Playboy Channel meets HGTV”), the island threatens to implode with prurient snark. No one is spared, not even Hilderbrand herself, “that other Nantucket novelist,” nor this magazine, “the notoriously cranky Kirkus.”

Once again, Hilderbrand displays her gift for making us care most about her least likable characters.

Pub Date: June 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-33452-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Categories:
Close Quickview