An evil corporation takes its pursuit of consumer loyalty to a whole new level in this corporate espionage novel.

There’s an unabashedly old-fashioned adventure story at the heart of Hakala’s lean, tensely plotted novel, a throwback adventure in which the good guys might say things like, “You'll never get away with this!” and the bad guys might reply, “Oh, but I shall.” Hakala marries his melodrama to a precisely controlled, contemporary plot and fills the whole thing with snappy dialogue. Two seemingly irreconcilable stories kick off the book: former Wall Street “king of the hill” Thornton “Thorny” Walsh has been relegated to a basement office in the wake of his firm’s merger with a gigantic Wall Street outfit, and idealistic Boston police officer Traci Ross is investigating a baffling series of rapes. These two separate worlds are brought together when an extremely shady businessman, hiding behind the shell of an innocent-seeming pet food company, begins a carefully orchestrated (and effectively described—Hakala is skilled at plot kinetics) plan to subvert the world economy. True to the Sam Spade template, Walsh stoically endures quite a bit of danger (including threats from a gigantic Samoan who “eats cops for breakfast”) and manhandling in order to uncover the villain’s diabolical plans. Ross is a considerably less fleshed-out character (and, despite her vocation, far less capable of taking care of herself in tight situations), but the book’s chemistry saves her from being the post-modern concession she might otherwise have become. Still, it’s Walsh who keeps things moving forward (and who gets all the best lines). He’s never very likable, but he makes the novel work. Despite Hakala’s evident zeal on the subject of food additives and government quality controls, the book never descends into polemic; this is first and foremost entertainment. An engaging, well-executed thriller.


Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615540771

Page Count: 363

Publisher: Cressida

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2012

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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