By the time the tale gets around to hieroglyphic depictions of Jesus, things have become more Indiana Jones than Robert...

READ REVIEW

INNOCENT BLOOD

The religious-themed mayhem of the authors’ jointly penned Blood Gospel (2013) continues in the second of a projected four volumes.

There’s a touch of genius, witting or no, in pairing a Dan Brown–ian hidden-codex mystery with a vampire tale. Let that suffice lest spoilers ruin the fun, except to say that the blood of the title is no accident. Intrepid scholar Erin Granger, fresh from the Holy Land, reunites with friend-with-benefits Jordan Stone, the tough soldier who’s seen some weird times in Masada and elsewhere in the Holy Land, along with Father Rhun Korza, who always knows more than he lets on. Joining the fun this time is a childlike angel who’s been around for a very, very long time—so long, in fact, that he (and/or she, angels being hard to pin down, genderwise) was there at the crucifixion and has a sidelong relationship with Judas, a figure who comes off as curiously sympathetic, playing a part in a very big passion play. Judas, natch, has been doing his bit ever since to bring Christ back to Earth: “He had spent centuries in service of this holy mission.” But so have many others, each in his or her own way, from witches and vampires (with scrapbooks of human hearts, no less) to priests and earthly warriors and even Lucifer, the baddest of the bad guys, his bad self. The whole yarn is improbable in the extreme, and therein lies at least some of its draw; Rollins and Cantrell seem always on the verge of breaking out into laughter even in the most fraught of situations, of which there are many—among them an absurd scenario featuring a cougar, a sedan and one of those weird sort-of-Jesuits known as the Sanguinists. 

By the time the tale gets around to hieroglyphic depictions of Jesus, things have become more Indiana Jones than Robert Langdon. It’s junk food, but it’s pretty tasty.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-199106-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more