This tale of otherworldly creatures maintains an impressive energy throughout, with an ending that makes reading Book 3 a...


Something Wiccan

From the Shadow Tales series , Vol. 2

Teen Toby Hoffman returns in Drummond’s (The One You Feed, 2013) supernatural thriller as a hunter apprentice whose first assignment pits him against a formidable warlock stealing powers.

Sixteen-year-old Toby was lucky to have survived his ordeal with werewolves in his hometown of Silver Falls, Oregon. But he’s caught the attention of the European Huntsman’s Network, which is looking for fresh recruits. Hunter Jack Steele convinces Toby to become a member, the teen’s sheriff father reluctantly approving the boy’s yearlong training overseas. Meanwhile, over in Ashland, Oregon, teen Natalie Sherwood stumbles upon a book in the attic—Sherwood Book of Incantations. She tries some spells with pal Brittany Richards, and wouldn’t you know it? The incantations work. Brittany and Natalie both hone their skills for a few months until Natalie’s auroras in the sky prove too public a display. The Network notices and, with Jack on assignment, sends still-in-training Toby on a relatively simple mission to warn the witch against future demonstrations. But it’s too late: warlock Eirik Devlin, who’s been tracking down witches and Wiccans to drain them of their abilities and life forces, has already spotted Natalie’s light show. Toby reunites with possible love interest Rachel Chochopi, in Ashland checking out a university and now with a power she wasn’t previously aware of. Unfortunately, Natalie’s newest hex may have awakened something as lethal as Eirik, if not more so. With nary a lycanthrope in sight, Drummond diversifies his series’ world to include all sorts of strange denizens. In addition to witches, there’s a hint of a Wendigo, a vampire that Jack’s been pursuing for nearly two decades, and something else revealed later in the book. Toby remains the hero who, like last time, is driven by his noble urge to save people, blaming himself for his mom’s car-accident death. But Natalie is a resounding character with a reasonable curiosity (is she a descendant of witches?) that makes her amateurish attempts at spell casting more discovery than recklessness. Seemingly endless confrontations occur, though the highlight is also the most comical: Toby has to battle mesmerized medieval role-playing college students—for real.

This tale of otherworldly creatures maintains an impressive energy throughout, with an ending that makes reading Book 3 a virtual necessity.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5176-1351-8

Page Count: 408

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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