Next book


A pretentiously self-conscious, lulling yet strangely pleasurable cross of Gulliver’s Travels and Pilgrim’s Progress with a...

Prolific British-born essayist and novelist Dyer’s second novel, a Kafkaesque road trip first published in 1993 in the U.K., appears for the first time in the U.S. along with his first novel, The Colour of Memory (reviewed in this issue).

The setting is a country resembling but not exactly replicating the United States in what might be the near future. Recently released from prison, Walker meets a beautiful woman named Rachel who hires him as a tracker, an illegal profession in a world where people frequently choose to disappear. Rachel wants him to find her husband, Malory, who did something unexplained that sent him on the run. Walker is to warn Malory that bad people are after him while getting Malory to sign and fingerprint some papers ensuring Rachel’s financial security when he's eventually arrested. So Walker, already more than half in love, sets off with a good-luck locket from Rachel and not much else. Since Malory has avoided being photographed, Rachel has only one blurry image of him. In a downward progression, an address gone cold leads to a phone number gone dead leads to a simple postmark. Walker gives up on clues to follow his intuition. He travels from city to city, some with familiar names that don’t connect to their actual geography, others with Bunyan-esque names like Despond and Independence. Sometimes Walker finds evidence that Malory has come and gone. He sees Malory in a crowd but loses him. He is stalked himself. The traveling becomes more important than finding Malory, until it culminates in a collection of snapshots that both clarify and cloud what the journey has been about for both Malory and Walker—snapshots, an occasional motif in Dyer’s first novel, become the central theme in his second.

A pretentiously self-conscious, lulling yet strangely pleasurable cross of Gulliver’s Travels and Pilgrim’s Progress with a little of the television cult show The Prisoner thrown in for good measure.

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55597-678-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Graywolf

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

Next book


Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Next book


Irritatingly trite woman-in-periler from lawyer-turned-novelist Baldacci. Moving away from the White House and the white-shoe Washington law firms of his previous bestsellers (Absolute Power, 1996; Total Control, 1997), Baldacci comes up with LuAnn Tyler, a spunky, impossibly beautiful, white-trash truck stop waitress with a no-good husband and a terminally cute infant daughter in tow. Some months after the birth of Lisa, LuAnn gets a phone call summoning her to a make-shift office in an unrented storefront of the local shopping mall. There, she gets a Faustian offer from a Mr. Jackson, a monomaniacal, cross-dressing manipulator who apparently knows the winning numbers in the national lottery before the numbers are drawn. It seems that LuAnn fits the media profile of what a lottery winner should be—poor, undereducated but proud—and if she's willing to buy the right ticket at the right time and transfer most of her winnings to Jackson, she'll be able to retire in luxury. Jackson fails to inform her, however, that if she refuses his offer, he'll have her killed. Before that can happen, as luck would have it, LuAnn barely escapes death when one of husband Duane's drug deals goes bad. She hops on a first-class Amtrak sleeper to Manhattan with a hired executioner in pursuit. But executioner Charlie, one of Jackson's paid handlers, can't help but hear wedding bells when he sees LuAnn cooing with her daughter. Alas, a winning $100- million lottery drawing complicates things. Jackson spirits LuAnn and Lisa away to Sweden, with Charlie in pursuit. Never fear. Not only will LuAnn escape a series of increasingly violent predicaments, but she'll also outwit Jackson, pay an enormous tax bill to the IRS, and have enough left over to honeymoon in Switzerland. Too preposterous to work as feminine wish-fulfillment, too formulaic to be suspenseful. (Book-of-the-Month Club main selection)

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 1997

ISBN: 0-446-52259-7

Page Count: 528

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

Close Quickview