A riotous, breathless, winking, strangely feel-good romp.

AMY AMONG THE SERIAL KILLERS

In her third book about novelist and erstwhile workshop teacher Amy Gallup, a (possibly serial!) murder falls into Amy’s lap, and violence, hijinks, and romance ensue.

It’s been several years since Amy fought off a killer writer, and she’s enjoying the peace and quiet—living with her dog and “working” every day (even when that just means staring at a blank screen). Her former pupil Carla Karolak is finding success with Inspiration Point, a writing colony of sorts. Then one day Carla finds something unexpected in one of the writing cells: a body. Soon Carla, her co-worker Tiffany, the workshop crew from Amy’s previous class, and Amy herself are awash in bodies, some of which are dismembered, some not. Enter a ridiculously smarmy “Writing Guru” and a gifted children’s author who may or may not be a mystic. The local police will only be so much help, so Carla and Amy, plus Tiffany and former workshop member Chuck, must team up to flush out the murderer and solve the case. The energetic tongue-in-cheek tone creates an interesting complement to—and veil for—the fact that this story is both gory and psychologically intense. When Amy confronts the killer at last, Willett chooses to ascribe the pronoun it to the killer, calling it “a creature” and effectively erasing any sense of humanity while dialing up the creepiness. This decision neatly symbolizes the moral that serial killers do not deserve the fame and notoriety that often help drive their actions; Amy muses that killing for sport renders one “an error of evolution.” The novel effectively refuses to excuse our own voyeuristic tendencies when it comes to serial killers, though—recognizing that it has just provided an elaborate fictional story for entertainment that centers around a brutal serial killer. What a delightfully mind-bending and complicit place to land.

A riotous, breathless, winking, strangely feel-good romp.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7514-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not the best of Connelly’s procedurals, but nobody else does them better than his second-best.

DESERT STAR

A snap of the yo-yo string yanks Harry Bosch out of retirement yet again.

Los Angeles Councilman Jake Pearlman has resurrected the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit in order to reopen the case of his kid sister, Sarah, whose 1994 murder was instantly eclipsed in the press by the O.J. Simpson case when it broke a day later. Since not even a councilor can reconstitute a police unit for a single favored case, Det. Renée Ballard and her mostly volunteer (read: unpaid) crew are expected to reopen some other cold cases as well, giving Bosch a fresh opportunity to gather evidence against Finbar McShane, the crooked manager he’s convinced executed industrial contractor Stephen Gallagher, his wife, and their two children in 2013 and buried them in a single desert grave. The case has haunted Bosch more than any other he failed to close, and he’s fine to work the Pearlman homicide if it’ll give him another crack at McShane. As it turns out, the Pearlman case is considerably more interesting—partly because the break that leads the unit to a surprising new suspect turns out to be both fraught and misleading, partly because identifying the killer is only the beginning of Bosch’s problems. The windup of the Gallagher murders, a testament to sweating every detail and following every lead wherever it goes, is more heartfelt but less wily and dramatic. Fans of the aging detective who fear that he might be mellowing will be happy to hear that “putting him on a team did not make him a team player.”

Not the best of Connelly’s procedurals, but nobody else does them better than his second-best.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-48565-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Underscores that the stories we tell about our lives and those of others can change hearts, minds, and history.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

OUR MISSING HEARTS

In a dystopian near future, art battles back against fear.

Ng’s first two novels—her arresting debut, Everything I Never Told You (2014), and devastating follow-up, Little Fires Everywhere (2017)—provided an insightful, empathetic perspective on America as it is. Her equally sensitive, nuanced, and vividly drawn latest effort, set in a dystopian near future in which Asian Americans are regarded with scorn and mistrust by the government and their neighbors, offers a frightening portrait of what it might become. The novel’s young protagonist, Bird, was 9 when his mother—without explanation—left him and his father; his father destroyed every sign of her. Now, when Bird is 12, a letter arrives. Because it is addressed to “Bird,” he knows it's from his mother. For three years, he has had to answer to his given name, Noah; repeat that he and his father no longer have anything to do with his mother; try not to attract attention; and endure classmates calling his mother a traitor. None of it makes sense to Bird until his one friend, Sadie, fills him in: His mother, the child of Chinese immigrants, wrote a poem that had improbably become a rallying cry for those protesting PACT—the Preserving American Culture and Traditions Act—a law that had helped end the Crisis 10 years before, ushering in an era in which violent economic protests had become vanishingly rare, but fear and suspicion, especially for persons of Asian origin, reigned. One of the Pillars of PACT—“Protects children from environments espousing harmful views”—had been the pretext for Sadie’s removal from her parents, who had sought to expose PACT’s cruelties and, Bird begins to understand, had prompted his own mother’s decision to leave. His mother's letter launches him on an odyssey to locate her, to listen and to learn. From the very first page of this thoroughly engrossing and deeply moving novel, Bird’s story takes wing. Taut and terrifying, Ng’s cautionary tale transports us into an American tomorrow that is all too easy to imagine—and persuasively posits that the antidotes to fear and suspicion are empathy and love.

Underscores that the stories we tell about our lives and those of others can change hearts, minds, and history.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-49254-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

more