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48 STATES

An adept and chilling cautionary tale—the narrative equivalent of brass knuckles to the skull.

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Blending elements of apocalyptic fiction, dystopian thriller, and timely political drama, this novel is set in an America on the brink of collapse.

After much of the country’s leadership is assassinated by terrorists in a coordinated attack at the White House, Secretary of State Elizabeth Cunningham reluctantly becomes the American president. In an effort to not have to rely on Middle Eastern oil, Cunningham evacuates millions of people from North Dakota and Wyoming in order to turn them into oil-producing “Energy Territories.” These territories, run by a ruthless security firm, quickly become lawless areas where anything goes. Army veteran and widow Jennifer “River” Petersen is a trucker in the territories. Her goal is to make enough money to pay off her debts so that she can get back to her young daughter and mother back in Idaho. When she helps a man bleeding in the middle of the road one night, she inadvertently entangles herself in a grand-scale conspiracy where nothing short of the future of America—and its very soul—is at stake. Powered by impeccably deep character development (every major player is insightfully explored, particularly River) and a storyline that may not seem so far-fetched after recent political events—book bans, federal curfews, and digital identity chips—Davis creates a terrifying near future. In this world, fear, hatred, and intolerance are irrevocably redefining the country and what it means to be an American: “We don’t allow anarchists and women with headscarves to roam our streets.” With a breakneck pace from the first page to the last, this book is so much more than just a well-written dystopian thriller. The questions that the author raises should resonate with readers long after the novel is finished.

An adept and chilling cautionary tale—the narrative equivalent of brass knuckles to the skull.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9858133-0-2

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Flesh & Bone Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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