An engaging and energetically written literary horror story that speaks up for animals.

WINTERSET HOLLOW

In this fantasy thriller, three friends visit the home of their favorite writer, unaware of the twisted legacy awaiting them.

John Eamon Buckley grew up with an agoraphobic father in rural Idaho. He survived his bitter childhood thanks to the writings of E.B. Addington, the beloved author of Winterset Hollow and the creator of characters like Runnymeade Rabbit and Flackwell Frog. Now, grown-up Eamon and his friends Mark and Caroline have embarked on a pilgrimage to Addington Isle, off the coast of West Rock, Washington. Along with several other fans, Eamon and company take a boat to the island and view the deceased author’s estate and beautiful grounds. Eamon hopes to at least see a rabbit, so the friends explore and find an elaborate hedge maze. They next see lantern light in the supposedly empty manor’s windows. But no oddities can prepare them for Runnymeade Rabbit himself, who steps from the manor and invites the group inside. The characters Flackwell Frog and Phineas Fox are also present, wearing clothes and able to speak, just like in the book. The hosts offer games and a feast to celebrate Addington’s fictional Barley Day. But as the evening proceeds, Eamon notices a sour tinge in the air. Runnymeade eventually announces: “It’s time for the hunt.” Durham takes a blackly humorous swipe at childhood nostalgia, namely readers still enamored with their copies of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. A peek through Addington’s history reveals a family obsessed with wealth and trophies, especially animal carcasses, which decorate the manor. The mystery of why Eamon received a strange summons to the island is deftly teased throughout. Durham’s gleeful, human-hunting villains steal most of the scenes, as when Flackwell tries to lure their prey by saying, “I’ve brought sandwiches!” The prose, while always striving to reveal character depth, runs a bit purple, as in the line “Nothing seemed to quell the firestorm of questions that was clouding his view and pummeling his eardrums and plugging his throat with thick, black ash.” Violence never overshadows the tale’s intriguing explorations of legacy and duty.

An engaging and energetically written literary horror story that speaks up for animals.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62586-208-2

Page Count: 286

Publisher: Credo House Publishers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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Lots of buzz after a seven-year hiatus, but even die-hard Outlander fans might need more action.

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GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE

The ninth book in Gabaldon’s Outlander series finds the Fraser family reunited in the midst of the American Revolution.

It’s 1779, and Claire and Jamie Fraser have found each other across time and space and are living peacefully in the American Colony of North Carolina. This novel opens with the mysterious return to Fraser’s Ridge of their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children. In a previous book, Brianna’s family time-traveled to 20th-century America and planned to stay there permanently. It’s clear that Jamie and the others expect the troubles the family faced in the future will follow them to the past; unfortunately, after their return, the book pauses for several hundred pages of exposition. Gabaldon reintroduces characters, summarizes past events and tragedies, and introduces new characters. The text features not one but two family trees (the one in the back is updated to include the events of the book), and readers will need both to keep track of all the characters and relationships. The Outlander series has always been concerned with themes of time and place, and this novel contains intricate details and descriptions of daily life in Colonial America, clearly the result of countless hours of research. But Claire and Jamie have always been the major draw for readers. Now that they are grandparents, their love story is less epic and more tender, exploring the process of aging, the joys of family, and the longing for community and home. The last third is more plot-driven and action-packed, but the cliffhanger ending might leave readers feeling as if the book is just filler for the promised 10th installment.

Lots of buzz after a seven-year hiatus, but even die-hard Outlander fans might need more action.

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-101-88568-0

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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Spanning centuries and continents, this is a darkly romantic and suspenseful tale by a writer at the top of her game.

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THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE

When you deal with the darkness, everything has a price.

“Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.” Adeline tried to heed this warning, but she was desperate to escape a wedding she didn’t want and a life spent trapped in a small town. So desperate that she didn’t notice the sun going down. And so she made a deal: For freedom, and time, she will surrender her soul when she no longer wants to live. But freedom came at a cost. Adeline didn’t want to belong to anyone; now she is forgotten every time she slips out of sight. She has spent 300 years living like a ghost, unable even to speak her own name. She has affairs with both men and women, but she can never have a comfortable intimacy built over time—only the giddy rush of a first meeting, over and over again. So when she meets a boy who, impossibly, remembers her, she can’t walk away. What Addie doesn’t know is why Henry is the first person in 300 years who can remember her. Or why Henry finds her as compelling as she finds him. And, of course, she doesn’t know how the devil she made a deal with will react if he learns that the rules of their 300-year-long game have changed. This spellbinding story unspools in multiple timelines as Addie moves through history, learning the rules of her curse and the whims of her captor. Meanwhile, both Addie and the reader get to know Henry and understand what sets him apart. This is the kind of book you stay up all night reading—rich and satisfying and strange and impeccably crafted.

Spanning centuries and continents, this is a darkly romantic and suspenseful tale by a writer at the top of her game.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8756-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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