A low-key but well-written thriller featuring a memorable main character who grows creepier by the page.


In Millhollin’s debut novel, a professional thief with OCD scrambles to recover after a heist goes wrong in a small New England town.

Roy Brakus keeps a low profile. He moves around the country, disposing of cars and identities without a backward glance. He cases the homes of his affluent victims for weeks before meticulously breaking in and cleaning out their jewelry boxes. His OCD gives him a professional edge: “Maybe other burglars were more daring, or better climbers, or more technologically savvy than he was, but nobody out-organized him.” Brakus thinks he’s hit the mother lode when, after arriving in Vermont, he realizes that two wealthy customers at a local jewelry store happen to be neighbors. But, as in every small town in popular culture, placid surfaces conceal sinister depths: As Brakus watches both homes, planning a double burglary, he realizes that Barbara O’Connell’s husband abuses her and Sara Jacobs’ lawyer husband is having a very hot affair with his secretary. Millhollin shows a knack for the well-observed detail, as when he notes that the unused sidewalks in the upscale neighborhood are there for residents who want “the look and feel of a friendly neighborhood—without the hassle of having to actually interact with neighbors.” Brakus’ well-planned burglary goes awry when Barbara unexpectedly returns home; he shoots and kills her before escaping, forcing Sara’s husband, Dan, to defend Barbara’s much-detested husband in court. Into this drama hitchhikes Ethan Murphy, a Pollyannaish college graduate traveling cross-country who decides that the taciturn loner staying at his motel really needs a friend. Although there’s no whodunit-style tension here, the character of Brakus is intriguing enough to carry the action. Millhollin tells much of the story from the thief’s point of view, allowing him to capture readers’ empathy, but as the novel progresses and reveals more of Brakus’ chilly nature, those same readers may become increasingly uncomfortable.

A low-key but well-written thriller featuring a memorable main character who grows creepier by the page.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...


Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?