A stunningly bold novel composed with great authorial confidence.

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A retired homicide detective assists a friend whose daughter is threatened by a violent stalker in Manos’ thriller.

Larry Klinger, retired from the Chicago Police Department for six years and anguished over the death of his 6-year-old son, Mattie, spends his time aimlessly riding the subway, emotionally adrift. Realizing his pain has only grown deeper as decades pass, he seeks solace in group therapy and becomes friends with a handful of men, all of whom have suffered the trauma of losing a child. The author affectingly portrays the bond Klinger forms with his brothers in commiseration: “And it was less that he felt like he knew the personalities, hopes, or fears of the men beyond what he was learning each week, he explained, than a sense that they all knew something about themselves and one another that they all desperately wished they did not know.” Dan McVie, one of them, frets anxiously over the safety of his daughter, Andrea—the boyfriend she recently dumped, Marco Bala, is an angry man with violent tendencies, and he stubbornly stalks her. Marco becomes increasingly threatening, and, after receiving an order of protection demanding he steer clear of Andrea, he assaults her and menaces McVie’s wife, Sharon. Out of desperation, McVie wonders aloud if he should hire a hit man to kill Marco or simply do the job himself. Klinger is tortured by the impossibility of Andrea’s predicament—he knows that the police cannot arrest Marco and that Marco will never be satisfied until Andrea is dead; he confesses to his wife, Dora, “I don’t have any doubts about where this is headed, though.”

The narrative is a forlornly painful one—all of the principal characters are tormented by unspeakable loss, and their personal traumas are portrayed with extraordinary insight. The author’s prose is generally plain and foursquare—the power of Klinger’s melancholy is only increased by the spare simplicity of his mode of expression. Still, Manos is more than capable of poetic incisiveness—he describes Marco’s obsession with Andrea memorably: “But as subsequent days passed, a growing matrix of suspicions about Andrea’s social life preyed on Marco’s mind like a cracked tooth.” Despite the mounting evidence to the contrary, Marco insists they are “soulmates,” though Klinger astutely understands that Marco is less obsessed with possessing Andrea than he is with courting conflict. Klinger is a richly complex character—still reeling from the death of his young son, he can’t bear the thought of McVie losing another of his children and is haunted by the fact that the tragedy is all but a forgone conclusion. “So, basically, I want to prevent this guy from losing another daughter in a way that looks too damned inevitable for my taste.” The author wraps a psychologically astute tale of emotional conflict in a crime drama, the latter just as intelligently conceived as the former. This is a remarkable novel—poignant and provocative.

A stunningly bold novel composed with great authorial confidence.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 9781956872132

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Amika Press

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2023


Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.

A much-beloved author gives a favorite recurring character her own novel.

Holly Gibney made her first appearance in print with a small role in Mr. Mercedes (2014). She played a larger role in The Outsider (2018). And she was the central character in If It Bleeds, a novella in the 2020 collection of the same name. King has said that the character “stole his heart.” Readers adore her, too. One way to look at this book is as several hundred pages of fan service. King offers a lot of callbacks to these earlier works that are undoubtedly a treat for his most loyal devotees. That these easter eggs are meaningless and even befuddling to new readers might make sense in terms of costs and benefits. King isn’t exactly an author desperate to grow his audience; pleasing the people who keep him at the top of the bestseller lists is probably a smart strategy, and this writer achieved the kind of status that whatever he writes is going to be published. Having said all that, it’s possible that even his hardcore fans might find this story a bit slow. There are also issues in terms of style. Much of the language King uses and the cultural references he drops feel a bit creaky. The word slacks occurs with distracting frequency. King uses the phrase keeping it on the down-low in a way that suggests he probably doesn’t understand how this phrase is currently used—and has been used for quite a while. But the biggest problem is that this narrative is framed as a mystery without delivering the pleasures of a mystery. The reader knows who the bad guys are from the start. This can be an effective storytelling device, but in this case, waiting for the private investigator heroine to get to where the reader is at the beginning of the story feels interminable.

Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781668016138

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.

The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.

The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780316563765

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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