A fantastic medical and supernatural thriller with a memorable hero.

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An overworked physician is bedeviled by strange visions in Simonds’ thriller.

Dr. Ryan Brenan is an incredibly dedicated and talented neurosurgeon, but his powerful work ethic leaves him depressed, with little time to spend with his family. His wife, Kelly, is concerned for his health and wants him to curtail his time at the hospital, but Ryan is too anxious to rely on other doctors and nurses because he’s seen what happens when people aren’t as careful as he is. The situation grows much worse as he begins to hallucinate such disturbing scenes as a child running into the street, a truck crashing into leaves that are left undisturbed, and a man being run over. Physician assistant Ariana Salazar suggests that his hallucinations may be the work of the supernatural and that he might be seeing ghosts that have devious intentions for him. As tensions rise and the specters grow worse, Ryan’s strained marriage approaches a breaking point. Before he loses everything and everyone he loves—and perhaps even his own life—Ryan has to figure out what these ghosts want. The author has created a compelling character in Ryan Brenan, a man who goes beyond the limit for his patients and cares for his family while navigating both human and supernatural obstacles. Ryan’s dialogue is occasionally overburdened with exposition, especially regarding medical information (“It’s an epidural hematoma. The brain and spinal cord are contained in a bag of fluid called the ‘dura.’ This clot of blood is on the outside of the dura and thus is ‘epi-dural.’ If it were under the dura, it would be ‘sub-dural’ ”), but the majority of the narrative avoids this problem. The supernatural elements are well developed and believable, creating scenes of insanity that feel truly consequential. Readers will be drawn in by the novel’s great characters, steady pace, and satisfying ending.

A fantastic medical and supernatural thriller with a memorable hero.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9798886330045

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023


Lots of violent action with little payoff.

Jack Ryan Jr. is back to risk life and limb in saving a teenage girl from international killers while his father, U.S. President Jack Ryan Sr., figures out what to do with Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment facility, hidden in a mine.

Junior, head of the secret intelligence outfit The Campus, which was functionally wiped out in Tom Clancy Flash Point (2023), is heading across Texas to a rendezvous with his fiancee, Lisanne Robertson, a one-armed former Marine and cop. He’s waylaid by the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident that he discovers resulted from a gun attack that left a driver hanging on for life, and now puts Jack in the crosshairs of the gunmen. A tip leads him to a 4 a.m. meeting with Amanda, a single mom whose impetuous daughter, Bella, has run off with her highly undesirable boyfriend only to be abducted by the baddies. the nation’s capital, American surveillance has determined that Iran is on the cusp of nuclear armament. The only way to stop them is unleashing an unpiloted and untested super plane with massive destructive power. The book’s treatment of Iran’s “existential threat to the entire globe” as a subplot is rather curious, to say the least. You keep waiting for Bentley to connect the two stories, but that happens only superficially. Late in the book, we are told as an afterthought that Iran’s immediate threat had been “mitigated.” Unfortunately, there is no mitigation of the novel’s hackneyed prose—"The analytical portion of Jack’s brain couldn’t help but be impressed.”

Lots of violent action with little payoff.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593422816

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023


A worthy addition to an entertaining series.

Danger abounds in the 20th ocean adventure in Cussler’s NUMA Files series.

Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala “find trouble the way a prize bloodhound finds a scent,” and this time they find it in the seas near Nassau. There, the National Underwater and Marine Agency training ship Edison responds to a mayday call from the MV Heron saying that they're under attack. The ship at first appears to be empty, but once the rescuers explore inside, a group of crazed men attacks them. The crazies are victims of Martin Colon, formerly of Cuban Intelligence and now VP of Ostrom Airship Corporation. The guy’s a bad dude with a serious grudge against the United States. He and his henchmen have injected the Heron’s crew with tiny microchips, electromagnetic sensors half the size of an average grain of pollen. If you get jabbed with this, your brain imprints and blindly obeys the first voice you hear. And if you’re told to kill your friends, you’ll kill them if you can. So now that Colon has successfully tested the weapon on individuals, he’s ready to go big time. And what better device for spreading the dust-sized chips in the billions than to disperse them from his luxury airship the Condor? It’s as big as an ocean liner and lifts with helium, so no fair comparing it to the hydrogen-hindered Hindenburg. Imagine a craft larger than the Empire State Building that lands “as soft as a feather.” Indeed, it’s “a world-class ocean liner plowing the skies.” NUMA sends people to inspect the Condor on the pretext that they might want to purchase a similar airship. To put it mildly, exciting action ensues. Can the NUMA crew head off a psyops attack that would cause mass madness and chaos? Though readers can guess the answer, they’ll enjoy seeing the heroes at work in this fast-moving yarn.

A worthy addition to an entertaining series.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593543979

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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