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DEATH FOLLOWED US HOME

A THRILLER

A smart, scary, and satisfying novel.

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In Rioux’s military thriller, a tightknit group of U.S. Army soldiers learn that one of their own has been shot dead—not on foreign soil, but in Kentucky—and they vow to retaliate.

As the story begins, a team of soldiers engage in fierce fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class Emmanuel “Manny” Muñoz’s composure, bravery, and quick decisions keep the mission alive, and also show he’s ”a badass and an outstanding combat leader.” A year later, back at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Manny is promoted to first sergeant, thrilling the platoon. The day after the announcement, Manny and his young son Manuelito stop for cash at an ATM, and masked robbers from a nearby truck shoot and kill them both. Det. Jennifer Beck is put on the case. Because a child and a veteran were gunned down, the police are eager to catch those responsible—and so are members of Manny’s platoon. One of his men, Specialist DeMarcus Brown, locates the truck shown on the video feed from near the ATM. He and Staff Sgt. Thomas “Sully” Sullivan, along with four other men from the platoon, decide to avenge their friend’s death by whatever means necessary: “Considering the criminal acts that they were about to commit and the possible shitstorm that might explode…if they screwed things up, they felt surprisingly ready.” Adding to that storm is Sully and Beck’s mutual attraction for each other. Rioux packs the pages with action and myriad emotions—disbelief, sadness, fear, love, hatred, loyalty, and hope. As the narrative explores the many ways that actions have consequences, the writing is fluid, the conversations are believable, and the wartime imagery is frightening and powerful. The author served in the military, and his expertise regarding the armed forces is evident throughout the book in passages such as “This was not the 1950s; women now accounted for over 15 percent of US Army personnel and served in the combat arms.” The footnotes explaining various military terms can be distracting at times, however.

A smart, scary, and satisfying novel.

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781039192614

Page Count: 276

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2024

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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