Multilayered and satisfying, a welcome and well-developed addition to an accomplished martial arts series.

Enzan The Far Mountain


The fifth installment in an imaginative martial arts thriller series.

Connecticut-based anthropologist, black belt and prolific author Donohue (Kage: The Shadow, 2011, etc.) is a martial arts expert who has parlayed his acumen into a succession of popular crime dramas featuring heroic defender Connor Burke. This time around, Burke takes time out from his intensive training regimen with aging sensei Yamashita Rinsuke to be propositioned by the powerful and elite Japanese Miyazaki family. Under the guise that Yamashita has somehow become indebted to them, the Miyazakis commission Burke, renowned for his work with the Kunaicho (“the Imperial Household Agency”) in aiding the Japanese royal family, to locate and return their defiant, nymphomaniacal 23-year-old daughter, Chie, who has gone missing. Initially, Chie’s father attributed his daughter’s absence from school and home to restless “daughter-gone-wild-in-grad-school” syndrome; family honor and confidentiality prevented them from taking more drastic and conventional actions to find her. But Chie’s sketchy, low-life boyfriend, Lim, and her history of drug use has everyone believing her disappearance could be a malicious kidnapping. Against his brother’s better judgment, Burke embarks on a treacherous investigation with a Brooklyn mobster’s assistant, Alejandro (who also seems to disappear midway through the novel). Soon, the investigation is bolstered by a precious book containing Yamashita’s expansive personal history. Chapters featuring an onslaught of Taser-armed skilled torturers and tactical villains unfold as the tension mounts and Burke’s progress in finding Chie is blocked at every pass. His saving grace comes after drawing on the powerful wisdom obtained throughout his tutelage by Yamashita. Once tough-talking Chie enters the fray, the plot heats up, and Donohue’s talent for serpentine, fast-paced action erupts. Throughout the book’s first half, Donohue cleverly intertwines the story with opinions and interesting perspectives on Eastern Zen philosophy and the rich history of martial arts, a direction that not only expands the breadth of the mystery, but also serves to enlighten his audience throughout this vivid, exhilarating ride.

Multilayered and satisfying, a welcome and well-developed addition to an accomplished martial arts series.

Pub Date: July 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59439-281-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: YMAA Publication Center

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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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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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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