Charles isn’t terribly charismatic, but his integrity and seemingly endless resources make for a great read.

READ REVIEW

THE PACIFIC DEPTHS

A billionaire’s attempts to make profound changes to counter global problems such as climate change are met with severe resistance from the U.S. president in Stephenson’s debut thriller.

New Zealander Charles Langham, at a United Nations meeting, implores the U.N. to take more active roles in combating famine and the deforestation of rain forests and promoting alternative fuels. This plea includes a vague warning, giving the U.N. a week to comply or Charles will take action. It seems that U.S. President Mike Read, who views Charles as a threat to the American economy, may be the billionaire’s biggest adversary. President Read sends a U.S. ship after Charles’ superyacht, Sundancer, presumably to attack, and Charles responds by disabling the vessel with an electromagnetic pulse fired from one of his subs. Charles then makes a statement to the public that he plans to use a device to create two tsunamis (designed to inflict only “minor damage”)to hit the U.S., but Read soon sends a covert team to eliminate Charles. The novel embraces its climate change message by directly addressing the issue, and its suggested solution—Charles sends specialists to countries to help the people become self-reliant—is both practical and feasible within the novel’s context. America initially is the villain, but as the story progresses, it’s clear that the true antagonist is President Read, who gradually loses the support of other nations and even his own advisers. The bulk of the novel is essentially a showdown between Read and Charles, who seemingly has enough money and employees to be a viable opponent for a man who leads a country. There’s very little suspense, however, as Charles is never in any real danger; he’s protected by boats, submarines, “extremely well paid” security teams and a deep-sea HQ. Stephenson does occasionally jumble the dialect: Americans use foreign slang like “bloody,” “[b]ugger” and “chap.” But he supplements his story by moving beyond the U.S. situation, including Charles’ team making a strike against a drug cartel in Brazil, and spotlighting strong characters—although the book is nearly stolen by Abbey, Charles’ border collie, who has more personality than his children, Cathy and Chris.

Charles isn’t terribly charismatic, but his integrity and seemingly endless resources make for a great read.

Pub Date: April 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493137985

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2014

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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