A thought-provoking novel with a clergyman who evolves into an intriguing hero.


A philosophical bishop gets dragged into a dangerous world in this thriller.

Meyer, the author of A Call to China (2017), cleverly models his story on the famous 16th-century Chinese narrative Journey to the West, in which a monk, accompanied by three colorful companions, takes a lengthy pilgrimage to India to recover Buddhist sutras. In this novel, set in the near future, that monk becomes Brendan Donovan, the kindly but naïve Catholic bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina.He wakes up one day, after two months in a coma, as the only survivor of a terrorist car bombing. As he recovers his memory, he realizes all is not as it seems—as indicated by the presence of secretive government agent Clyde Reese. Brendan had taken part in the UNESCO-sponsored Project 28, whose final, unpublished report condemned the actions of authoritarian governments and warned about climate change. He’s also one of only two survivors from that group. So, aided by his faithful vicar, Monsignor Finney, Brendan goes on the run. He ultimately hides among a group of homeless people, eventually meeting Hog Molly and Monk,who become his traveling companions. He decides to travel to the sacred site of Iona off the coast of Scotland to unveil the Project 28 report. All the trio has to do is avoid the sophisticated global surveillance network—and find a way to get to Iona. Meyer serves up an enjoyable cautionary tale that makes an ancient story plausible for the modern era. Using Brendan’s plight, the author examines how difficult it would be to go completely off the grid and how well-meaning people can unintentionally put themselves in danger. Meyer also provides a well-rounded cast of characters: Brendan goes from doughy idealist to rawboned realist, and ex–football player Molly and monk-in-exile Monk deserve much of the credit for that transition. Even the hardcore Reese, who longs for the strict old days of the Catholic Church, starts to question the choices he’s made. Indeed, the result is as much a character study as it is a suspenseful thriller—and it’s one that will make readers think twice about those in power.

A thought-provoking novel with a clergyman who evolves into an intriguing hero.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-952961-00-7

Page Count: 290

Publisher: IngramElliott, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2020

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.


Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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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

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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