A suspenseful, epic battle between man and pitiless nature.

THE DARK HEART OF EVERY WILD THING

A hunter seeks both vengeance and inner peace.

Set in the rugged landscape of western Canada, poet Fasano’s debut novel tells the dramatic story of a solo hunter’s Ahab-like pursuit of a formidable mountain lion—“the mind of the wild”—while simultaneously battling his lingering grief over the tragic deaths of his wife and young son. Endangered by his decision to prolong his quest as late autumn turns suddenly to winter, the unnamed narrator’s situation quickly turns dire; he finds himself forced to battle injury, hunger, exhaustion, and his own fear as his role shifts between pursuer and pursued. In the novel’s many vivid descriptive passages, Fasano unashamedly reveals his poetic DNA, describing how “the sun was already casting its lattice against the spruces and opening the thrushes’ throats in the saxifrage” or “the early moon in the chasm above me, dark wings crossing it in the vengeance of their abiding.” Some readers will adore this lush prose; others will find its persistence occasionally aggravating. What should unite them, however, is Fasano’s ability to tell a pulsating story featuring a resolute man, alone in the beautiful but unforgiving wilderness, who must bring to bear all of his resources of endurance and courage merely to survive. The encounter between this determined human and his equally imposing animal adversary is as profoundly psychological as it is intensely physical. As these creatures stalk each other on the snowy mountainside, their deadly dance is complicated by the presence of two other hunters and their pack of hounds. Fasano’s resolution of the taut adventure tale is both surprising and truly satisfying. He enhances the pacing of that story with flashbacks to the narrator’s life with his late wife—a former ballet dancer—and scenes with his son, contrasting the tenderness of their relationship with his tension-filled one with his own father.

A suspenseful, epic battle between man and pitiless nature.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-913007-06-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Platypus Press

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

THE SUMMER PLACE

When a family convenes at their Cape Cod summer home for a wedding, old secrets threaten to ruin everything.

Sarah Danhauser is shocked when her beloved stepdaughter announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Gabe. After all, Ruby’s only 22, and Sarah suspects that their relationship was fast-tracked because of the time they spent together in quarantine during the early days of the pandemic. Sarah’s mother, Veronica, is thrilled, mostly because she longs to have the entire family together for one last celebration before she puts their Cape Cod summer house on the market. But getting to Ruby and Gabe’s wedding might prove more difficult than anyone thought. Sarah can’t figure out why her husband, Eli, has been so distant and distracted ever since Ruby moved home to Park Slope (bringing Gabe with her), and she's afraid he may be having an affair. Veronica is afraid that a long-ago dalliance might come back to bite her. Ruby isn’t sure how to process the conflicting feelings she’s having about her upcoming nuptials. And Sam, Sarah’s twin brother, is a recent widower who’s dealing with some pretty big romantic confusion. As the entire extended family, along with Gabe’s relatives, converges on the summer house, secrets become impossible to keep, and it quickly becomes clear that this might not be the perfect gathering Veronica was envisioning. If they make it to the wedding, will their family survive the aftermath? Weiner creates a story with all the misunderstandings and miscommunications of a screwball comedy or a Shakespeare play (think A Midsummer Night’s Dream). But the surprising, over-the-top actions of the characters are grounded by a realistic and moving look at grief and ambition (particularly for Sarah and Veronica, both of whom give up demanding creative careers early on). At times the flashbacks can slow down the story, but even when the characters are lying, cheating, and hiding from each other, they still seem like a real and loving family.

An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3357-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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