An inventive and macabre new spin on malevolent body snatchers.

A rookie FBI agent stumbles into a supernatural mystery when a series of murders erupts in New York, starting with her partner.

Hogan and del Toro have an exceptional track record with supernatural thrillers—see The Strain Trilogy (2009-2011)—so this new series starring a novice FBI agent and a classic occult detective is a welcome gift to disciples of Lovecraft-ian fiction. Odessa Hardwicke is cast in the mold of Clarice Starling, a tough but self-doubting FBI agent still finding her way. She and her jaded partner, Walt Leppo, are first on the scene when a disgraced politician slays his wife and children. In the midst of this gruesome scene, Leppo unexpectedly and abruptly stabs the surviving child, forcing Odessa to shoot him dead, glimpsing a weird specter departing as he breathes his last. The narrative then jumps from the modern day to the Mississippi Delta circa 1962, where African American FBI agent Earl Solomon is on the trail of someone lynching white victims. Intertwined between these storylines is the origin story of our other primary character, John Blackwood, a seemingly immortal investigator modeled after Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence. These disparate threads converge as Odessa, unjustly exiled from the FBI, connects with a dying Solomon, who gives her insight into his odd fellowship with Blackwood. After Odessa delivers an appeal to a cryptic mailbox in Manhattan, Blackwood suddenly materializes, a gaunt, erudite, and awkward consort cursed to chase down a specific breed of evil in this world. The body count rises with a massacre on Long Island while Blackwood teaches Odessa about a twisted cult dating back to Mesopotamian times that affords a select few souls, the titular Hollow Ones, the ability to jump between bodies and find ecstasy in their host’s violent death. Readers of occult fiction from Poe to Richard Kadrey will instantly recognize the creepy vibes and likely enjoy the ride.

An inventive and macabre new spin on malevolent body snatchers.

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-6174-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020


A unique story of transcendent love.

An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020


It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts.

A disturbing household secret has far-reaching consequences in this dark, unusual ghost story.

Mallory Quinn, fresh out of rehab and recovering from a recent tragedy, has taken a job as a nanny for an affluent couple living in the upscale suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey, when a series of strange events start to make her (and her employers) question her own sanity. Teddy, the precocious and shy 5-year-old boy she's charged with watching, seems to be haunted by a ghost who channels his body to draw pictures that are far too complex and well formed for such a young child. At first, these drawings are rather typical: rabbits, hot air balloons, trees. But then the illustrations take a dark turn, showcasing the details of a gruesome murder; the inclusion of the drawings, which start out as stick figures and grow increasingly more disturbing and sophisticated, brings the reader right into the story. With the help of an attractive young gardener and a psychic neighbor and using only the drawings as clues, Mallory must solve the mystery of the house's grizzly past before it's too late. Rekulak does a great job with character development: Mallory, who narrates in the first person, has an engaging voice; the Maxwells' slightly overbearing parenting style and passive-aggressive quips feel very familiar; and Teddy is so three-dimensional that he sometimes feels like a real child.

It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81934-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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