by John Sandford ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 4, 2022
The most relaxing tale of double-digit murder you’ll read this year.
Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers join forces once more with each other and a host of other law enforcement officials to take down a cabal of white-collar vigilante killers.
The Five, as they style themselves, are a group of Bitcoin billionaires oozing self-righteousness who’ve declared war on crooked politicians, heartless corporate leaders, slumlords, and right-wing radio bloviators. That’s an awful lot of targets, and it’s no wonder that even though The Five issue regular manifestos, progress reports, and teasing hints about where they’ll strike next, the FBI has been helpless to identify and protect their victims. Not surprisingly, the two U.S. senators from Minnesota want Lucas, a U.S. Marshal, on the job, and Lucas wants to work with Virgil, his old protégé at Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. At first their progress is frustratingly slow, but things heat up abruptly when they identify a likely suspect who’s promptly executed by Vivian Zhao, the scheming self-proclaimed economist who’s the brains behind The Five. During a routine inquiry, Lucas and Virgil get an unexpected glimpse of Zhao, who flees the scene and issues an S.O.S. to the surviving members of The Five asking for funds to finance her flight. By now, of course, every one of the conspirators is afraid that Zhao, the only one who knows their identities, will flip on them, and Lucas and Virgil’s race to find the ringleader is complicated by the vigilantes’ race to cover themselves by killing anyone who might betray them, beginning, of course, with each other. Sandford manages the ensuing circular firing squad with brisk expertise, though it’s hard to generate much suspense over the threats to such a despicable bunch.The most relaxing tale of double-digit murder you’ll read this year.
Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022
Page Count: 416
Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Don Bentley ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 5, 2023
Lots of violent action with little payoff.
Jack Ryan Jr. is back to risk life and limb in saving a teenage girl from international killers while his father, U.S. President Jack Ryan Sr., figures out what to do with Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment facility, hidden in a mine.
Junior, head of the secret intelligence outfit The Campus, which was functionally wiped out in Tom Clancy Flash Point (2023), is heading across Texas to a rendezvous with his fiancee, Lisanne Robertson, a one-armed former Marine and cop. He’s waylaid by the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident that he discovers resulted from a gun attack that left a driver hanging on for life, and now puts Jack in the crosshairs of the gunmen. A tip leads him to a 4 a.m. meeting with Amanda, a single mom whose impetuous daughter, Bella, has run off with her highly undesirable boyfriend only to be abducted by the baddies. Meanwhile...in the nation’s capital, American surveillance has determined that Iran is on the cusp of nuclear armament. The only way to stop them is unleashing an unpiloted and untested super plane with massive destructive power. The book’s treatment of Iran’s “existential threat to the entire globe” as a subplot is rather curious, to say the least. You keep waiting for Bentley to connect the two stories, but that happens only superficially. Late in the book, we are told as an afterthought that Iran’s immediate threat had been “mitigated.” Unfortunately, there is no mitigation of the novel’s hackneyed prose—"The analytical portion of Jack’s brain couldn’t help but be impressed.”Lots of violent action with little payoff.
Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023
Page Count: 512
Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023
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