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YEARNING FOR THE LIGHT

CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE

This vampire yarn hits familiar beats with a standout cast and a grand denouement.

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A college student transforms after a vampire’s bite in Nix’s supernatural thriller.

University of Michigan senior Drew Owens cherishes his late-night walks across campus. Unfortunately, that’s prime time for vampires to stalk, and one night a bloodsucker suddenly attacks him. Miraculously, he awakens in a body bag, and a voice coaxes him out. It belongs to Samatonius Belzar, a 1,500-year-old vampire (and not the one who bit Drew). Sam belongs to a “family” that Drew has now joined. While most of these vamps are affable, Fredrick Kolf is definitely not. He’s got his red eye on Meg Larson, a fellow student Drew met recently. Fredrick may be a powerful vampire, but Drew, unlike the rest of the family, is immune to sunlight and “religious relics” like crucifixes. Drew resolves to keep Meg safe from Fredrick. Much of this tale lingers in recognizable terrain; these vampires are immortal, nocturnal beings who bite necks and flaunt such supernatural abilities as telepathy. Still, the cast is engaging, as Sam lovingly embraces new family members and Drew resists drinking blood for as long as he can (“Remnants of his human side still resided within him….At the moment, he felt incapable of murdering some innocent stranger”). The subplots are uniformly engrossing, including the detectives’ murder case, Drew and Meg’s potential romance, and the backstory of the vampiric “curse” that began in Jerusalem millennia ago. There is nominal action and suspense, as the characters are more prone to discussions of all that comes with being a vampire. Nevertheless, Drew’s unique immunity leads to an intriguing narrative turn that ignites a riveting final act and an unforgettable ending.

This vampire yarn hits familiar beats with a standout cast and a grand denouement.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2023

ISBN: 979-8862713138

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2023

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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