CONFESSION

THE SEVENTH POSTULATE

A woman questions the mysteries of the universe as she struggles to overcome a dark past.

Krehbiel’s curious novel starts slowly but develops into a rich psychological portrait of a woman questioning the very basis of her reality. The story is framed as a lengthy confession written by Terri Harold, a woman who fled a childhood of sexual abuse to live with her mother and sister in Washington State. Supported by a generous trust, Terri settles into a comfortable life dominated by golf, weekly poker games and her adoring husband, Wayne. Robert, another poker player, is a shy, awkward man who intrigues Terri with his occasional observations about quantum physics. Robert holds onto the esoteric belief that many of the most fundamental principles of physics, the observations that explain the substance of the universe, are completely flawed. Terri is an educated woman and skeptical of Robert’s claims but also charmed by this peculiar man. As she learns more about his oddball theories, she comes to believe that she can use quantum physics to alter her reality and overcome the memory of her abuse. From here the novel follows Terri as she plunges into a series of genre-bending scenarios. The novel shifts between a violent revenge thriller, an elaborate and tender romance, a tale of government espionage and a deep exploration of quantum physics. These wild shifts remain coherent because at the center of them all is Terri, a character who is revealed slowly and complexly. The first-person confessional style of the novel offers readers a deep look into Terri’s mind as the world bucks around her. Not all of the plot diversions are successful. A side story involving Terri’s murderous sister is not given the detail that the serious subject deserves. Also, long sections on physics can become tedious for those without an interest in the subject. But the novel succeeds as a carefully observed character study with an engaging heroine at its center. Strong characters and a wild plot keep the pages turning.

 

Pub Date: June 11, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 339

Publisher: John Krehbiel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2012

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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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DEVOLUTION

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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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