This virgin-birth thriller from Cooper (Sign of the Cross, 2018, etc.) is lighter and funnier than you might think, whether...

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THREE MARYS

Three virgin pregnancies lead to a schism in the Catholic Church, but it’s nothing a Harvard professor can’t tackle.

Pope Celestine IV isn’t sure what to think when he hears that a Blessed Virgin Mary is once again on Earth—and not just one, but three different teenage Marys in geographically disparate locations, each preparing to have a baby without ever having done the deed. Is it a miracle or some sort of modern science? Celestine calls on his longtime friend Cal Donovan, a prominent scholar of religion and archaeology, to help plumb the miracle. Cal is the answer to the question, “What if being a Harvard professor made you a superhero, and you were also as appealing to women as, say, Shaft?” So he’s more than ready to ditch his romantic getaway with his ladylove to visit two of the Marys (Marias, really) in their hometowns. Because he can’t be literally everywhere at once, he enlists the help of his colleague Joseph Murphy to visit Ireland Mary and share his thoughts on the matter. While Cal confirms the Marys’ virginities and pregnancies, he doesn’t have much insight into the mystery, and he’s preparing to return to his daily routine when the world is shaken by the news that all three Marys have disappeared. The Marys are in fact housed in a large mansion somewhere in the U.S., not exactly against their will but certainly not with their blessing. Not even caretaker Sue Gibney, who’s responsible for the girls’ everyday lives, is clear about the greater plan. When cardinal George Pole tenders his resignation to the Vatican, Celestine senses there’s another change coming, but even Cal can’t save the Catholic Church from a wave of believers focused on this modern apparent miracle—or can he?

This virgin-birth thriller from Cooper (Sign of the Cross, 2018, etc.) is lighter and funnier than you might think, whether intentionally so or not, from the reams of hymen talk to the alma mater the author coincidentally shares with his hero.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8821-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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