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THE JEALOUSY MAN

AND OTHER STORIES

Humanity is at low ebb in this enjoyable, if uneven, collection—Nesbø’s first.

On leave from his Harry Hole novels, Nesbø delivers stories ranging from dystopian visions to time-honored tales of duplicity and revenge.

Few of Nesbø's characters pass the decency test. A man's kindliness toward a sobbing woman seated next to him on a flight to London masks dark intentions. An assassin with a day job in Milan as a psychologist is himself marked for death by a sadistic hit man of greater repute. In San Sebastián, an ardent proponent of the multiverse is suspected of killing one of his "other" selves. An Austrian researcher hiding out in Spanish Sahara devises a formula for immortality to save his ailing wife only to fight off corporate types who will do anything to take possession of it. The estranged son of a billionaire thinks twice about saving his father from a deadly snakebite in Botswana. Nesbø is at his best in the long, wonderfully atmospheric title story, which shows off his gift for pulling one story out of another. Summoned to the Greek island of Kalymnos to investigate the possible murder of a man by the man's twin brother, Athens detective Nikos Balli—who specializes in sniffing out jealousy as a motive—ends up detecting an old friend's ill intentions during a mountain-climbing outing. Nesbø is less successful with "Rat Island," a baggy pandemic tale in which marauding bikers tear down the last vestiges of civilization while rich people plan their futures from the safety of a skyscraper. This story and others seem hastily drawn, and the author has a tendency to be too clever for his own good—the twistiest twists can arrive with a soft thud. But he never runs out of ideas or characters driven by inner thoughts.

Humanity is at low ebb in this enjoyable, if uneven, collection—Nesbø’s first.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-32100-3

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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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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