Dull.

READ REVIEW

THE DARK RIVER

BOOK TWO OF THE FOURTH REALM TRILOGY

The freedom-hating Vast Machine is at it again in this second libertarian-minded thriller from Twelve Hawks.

The Traveler (2005) put forth a fairly standard hypothesis: The world is controlled by a massive, interlocking conspiracy labeled the Vast Machine, which has been fought throughout the millennia by interdimensional travelers known as Travelers. (The author goes for prosaic, no-frills names.) This sequel, the middle volume in a planned trilogy, starts off with a bang as Vast Machine mercenaries wipe out a peaceful community of off-the-grid freethinkers, but it provides few thrills or chills after that. Traveler Gabriel is hiding out with Maya, member the Harlequins, an ancient band of warriors sworn to defend Travelers. They’re trying to find out what happened to Gabriel’s missing father, spurred by the knowledge that Gabriel’s brother Michael, who’s joined the Vast Machine, is also hunting for him. A few decent action scenes ensue, but the narrative is too diffuse and muddled to create any sense of urgency. Composed of the usual suspects (heads of government, military and industry), the Vast Machine employs new surveillance technologies to curb humanity’s freedom, but the author never makes clear precisely how the Travelers and their companions are supposed to combat it. Twelve Hawks’ bad habits include indulging in lengthy excursions to poorly elucidated multiple dimensions and delivering multiple lectures à la Crichton. He does, however, deliver one really good line: “If privacy had a gravestone it might read: ‘Don’t Worry. This Was For Your Own Good.’ ”

Dull.

Pub Date: July 10, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-385-51429-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

JOURNEY OF THE PHARAOHS

Rumors of lost Egyptian treasure spark high adventure in this 17th in the NUMA series featuring oceanographer Kurt Austin and his crew (Sea of Greed, 2018, etc.).

Over 3,000 years ago, grave robbers sail away with loot from a pharaoh’s tomb. In 1927, Jake Melbourne and his plane disappear in his attempt at a trans-Atlantic flight. In the present day, arms merchants known as the Bloodstone Group have taken to stealing antiquities. They are looking for a “treasure both vast and glorious” that hieroglyphics say was shipped down the Nile and out of Egypt, perhaps even west across the Atlantic. (Holy scurvy! That must’ve been a lot of hard rowing!) The criminals are known to MI5 as “very dangerous people" and "merchants selling death.” Perfectly willing to kill everyone in their way, they are aided by mechanical crows and Fydor and Xandra, nasty sibling assassins jointly called the Toymaker. Such are the foes faced by Austin and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency. Of course, Austin has no interest in profit; he will gladly leave the ancient riches wherever they are. Action arrives early and often, and the failed pre-Lindbergh flight fits in neatly. Cussler and Brown concoct a nifty plot with disparate, sometimes over-the-top twists that will make even hardcore adventure fans say “Wow!” Expect claustrophobic gunfights, aerial combat, a life-threatening flood, messages from the dead, coffins of gold—and a vintage classic car, because why not? “We’re going to steal the greatest deposit of Egyptian treasure the world has ever known,” brags the evil mastermind. But he’ll have to climb over the series hero’s dead body first, which—no plot spoiler here—ain’t gonna happen.

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08308-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more