by Jay Posey ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2020
A series opener with excellent worldbuilding but not enough of anything else.
Just as the human race has achieved a stable society that stretches from planet to planet, an elite government agency discovers the seeds of a growing revolution in the opening volume of Posey’s new series.
Long ago, humankind discovered that the key to conquering the universe was language. The Deep Language controls all of reality, and those who can speak it have immense power. An organization called the Ascendance is in charge of the agents who speak the Deep Language, but it works more like a religious group, with the Paragon at the top and her group of agents, called Advocates, following her lead. Elyth, one such Advocate, is tasked with destroying planets where the Deep Language has been compromised, which really means it’s her job to put down uprisings against the Ascendance. Using the Deep Language is akin to magic, in that Elyth knows the correct phrase to say in order to fast-track a planet’s natural death. The Paragon, pleased with Elyth’s work, sends her on a crucial mission to follow a strange speech pattern that shouldn’t exist, and at the end of the trail, Elyth finds a man who shouldn’t exist, either. The notion of language as the fabric of the universe is pretty clever and works well here because Posey goes to great lengths to keep the Deep Language scenes straightforward and easy to follow. But what does that matter when the stakes are so murky? It’s clear that the Ascendance is corrupt, but it’s unclear how, unclear why some people are revolting, unclear why any of this matters other than passing mentions of intergalactic travel and vague menace.A series opener with excellent worldbuilding but not enough of anything else.
Pub Date: July 7, 2020
Page Count: 384
Publisher: Skybound Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020
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by Paul Vidich ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 1, 2022
Intrigue, murder, and vengeance make for a darkly enjoyable read.
A woman’s life takes a stunning turn and a wall comes tumbling down in this tense Cold War spy drama.
In Berlin in 1989, the wall is about to crumble, and Anne Simpson’s husband, Stefan Koehler, goes missing. She is a translator working with refugees from the communist bloc, and he is a piano tuner who travels around Europe with orchestras. Or so he claims. German intelligence service the BND and America’s CIA bring her in for questioning, wrongly thinking she’s protecting him. Soon she begins to learn more about Stefan, whom she had met in the Netherlands a few years ago. She realizes he’s a “gregarious musician with easy charm who collected friends like a beachcomber collects shells, keeping a few, discarding most.” Police find his wallet in a canal and his prized zither in nearby bushes but not his body. Has he been murdered? What’s going on? And why does the BND care? If Stefan is alive, he’s in deep trouble, because he’s believed to be working for the Stasi. She’s told “the dead have a way of showing up. It is only the living who hide.” And she’s quite believable when she wonders, “Can you grieve for someone who betrayed you?” Smart and observant, she notes that the reaction by one of her interrogators is “as false as his toupee. Obvious, uncalled for, and easily put on.” Lurking behind the scenes is the Matchmaker, who specializes in finding women—“American. Divorced. Unhappy,” and possibly having access to Western secrets—who will fall for one of his Romeos. Anne is the perfect fit. “The matchmaker turned love into tradecraft,” a CIA agent tells her. But espionage is an amoral business where duty trumps decency, and “deploring the morality of spies is like deploring violence in boxers.” It’s a sentiment John le Carré would have endorsed, but Anne may have the final word.Intrigue, murder, and vengeance make for a darkly enjoyable read.
Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022
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by Catherine Coulter ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 30, 2019
Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.
Coulter’s treasured FBI agents take on two cases marked by danger and personal involvement.
Dillon Savitch and his wife, Lacey Sherlock, have special abilities that have served them well in law enforcement (Paradox, 2018, etc.). But that doesn't prevent Sherlock’s car from hitting a running man after having been struck by a speeding SUV that runs a red light. The runner, though clearly injured, continues on his way and disappears. Not so the SUV driver, a security engineer for the Bexholt Group, which has ties to government agencies. Sherlock’s own concussion causes memory loss so severe that she doesn’t recognize Savitch or remember their son, Sean. The whole incident seems more suspicious when a blood test from the splatter of the man Sherlock hit reveals that he’s Justice Cummings, an analyst for the CIA. The agency’s refusal to cooperate makes Savitch certain that Bexholt is involved in a deep-laid plot. Meanwhile, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith is visiting friends who run a cafe in the touristy Virginia town of Gaffers Ridge. Hammersmith, who has psychic abilities, is taken aback when he hears in his mind a woman’s cry for help. Reporter Carson DeSilva, who came to the area to interview a Nobel Prize winner, also has psychic abilities, and she overhears the thoughts of Rafer Bodine, a young man who has apparently kidnapped and possibly murdered three teenage girls. Unluckily, she blurts out her thoughts, and she’s snatched and tied up in a cellar by Bodine. Bodine may be a killer, but he’s also the nephew of the sheriff and the son of the local bigwig. So the sheriff arrests Hammersmith and refuses to accept his FBI credentials. Bodine's mother has psychic powers strong enough to kill, but she meets her match in Hammersmith, DeSilva, Savitch, and Sherlock.Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.
Pub Date: July 30, 2019
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019
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