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DEAD OR ALIVE

A superlative hero headlines this razor-sharp crime tale.

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In this thriller, a wealthy American businessman suspected of murder goes on the run with contract killers at his heels.

Joe Savage is one of the richest men in the United States. As CEO of Omnicon Investments, he lives and works in New York City, with homes in various states and a chateau on the French Riviera. Best of all, he and his beautiful wife, Betty, live a happy life with their 4-year-old son, Mark. But this all comes crashing down one day when Joe awakens in a strange apartment with a body in the bedroom. He has no idea where he is or how he got there. Convinced the police won’t buy that, Joe flees the crime scene. New York City Police Department detective Thomas Bone takes the murder case, with plenty of evidence pointing to a certain CEO. It must be a frame-up, but Joe has nowhere to turn for help. Betty and Mark are his only family, and she and Joe’s friend Peter Turnbull, Omnicon’s finance director, insist the entrepreneur turn himself in and take a guilty plea. Joe refuses to cop to something he didn’t do and instead sets out to prove his innocence. As Bone and New York’s finest comb the city, Joe keeps his head down, trying on disguises and even a new identity. But the authorities aren’t the only ones after him. For some reason, professional killers are gunning for him as well, and they tend to shoot first with nary a warning. Joe fights to stay alive and out of handcuffs long enough to clear his name.

Obomeghie’s novel brims with suspense. Though readers know right away who’s responsible for the murder and the motive, the narrative rolls out surprises, including startling deaths and specifics about the hit men. There’s plenty of action, too. Joe gets involved in foot and car chases, most of the time with assassins packing guns and lots of bullets. The author layers the story with painstaking details about Joe’s opulent lifestyle, a glaring contrast to the protagonist’s grim existence on the streets. He trades in his $3,000 Armani suit for a pair of sneakers, and his stay at a cheap hotel with “dusty, papered walls done in floral patterns” is worlds away from his New York home with million-dollar artworks adorning the walls. Joe will surely earn readers’ sympathy, as he suffers from depression and recurring nightmares from his yearlong captivity in a Viet Cong prison in Vietnam. And Joe’s nemesis Bone, though a smart and capable detective, isn’t the easiest guy to like, too often resorting to bloodshed. Despite all the gunfire, the author keeps the story’s violent scenes in check, even spotlighting the unexpected fallout. For example, readers may cheer when Joe successfully evades armed men, but innocent bystanders aren’t so lucky. Most descriptions, meanwhile, sound like snazzy one-liners, from on-the-lam Joe’s “walking around New York with a face he couldn’t afford” to a cigarette-smoking cop’s “presently ignoring the Surgeon General’s warning.” The story culminates in a gratifying denouement chock-full of resolution.

A superlative hero headlines this razor-sharp crime tale.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9913830-1-6

Page Count: 492

Publisher: Elliott and Dylan Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2022

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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