by Hanna Jameson ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 9, 2019
A thoughtful, page turning post-apocalyptic tale marred by a disjointed conclusion.
A historian documents his strange days hiding out in a Swiss hotel in the aftermath of nuclear war.
American historian Jon Keller is at a conference at L’Hotel Sixième outside of Zurich when a nuclear weapon destroys Washington, and more major cities aren’t far behind. The president is dead, and millions of others are, too. The horror is almost too much to contemplate. Many people in the hotel flee, but Jon stays and begins to chronicle his days with the small remaining group of guests and staff. He worries about his wife and two daughters back in San Francisco and laments that he didn't leave on the best of terms with his wife. He befriends a few of the guests, most notably the outspoken Tomi, who is the only other American; they have a doctor and plenty of food stores for the time being. Jon makes a record of his experiences in the hotel and collects the stories of his fellow survivors, hoping he can preserve something of what they were before the world went sideways. When Jon and a few others find the body of a little girl in a rooftop water tank, Jon resolves to find her killer. Trusted with a set of master keys, Jon sets about snooping around the enormous hotel. He often feels as if he’s being watched, adding a distinct element of creeping dread reminiscent of The Shining. Jameson delivers an eerie and unsettling tale, made even more so by its frequent mundanity. Even with a world in chaos, people still do what they do—form alliances, keep secrets, make love. They also go to lengths they never imagined they would. Jameson’s premise certainly resonates in our current political climate, and blame for the situation is leveled directly at Tomi because of whom she voted for in the last presidential election even as Jon ruminates that those who voted otherwise (like him) didn’t do enough to stop what happened. It makes for propulsive reading, but readers invested in what happened to the little girl in the water tank will find themselves scratching their heads when all is finally revealed in a rather rushed finale.A thoughtful, page turning post-apocalyptic tale marred by a disjointed conclusion.
Pub Date: April 9, 2019
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).
A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Pub Date: June 16, 2020
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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