An intriguing, original tale for readers looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.


A psychological thriller in which a traveler receives the memories of every other person on his flight—and is unable to control who takes the lead in his mind.

When SF writer Brian Watson takes Flight 2164 from Philadelphia to Chicago, he doesn’t expect it to be eventful. But as all the passengers make their way to the baggage carousel, confusion sweeps through the crowd; suddenly, no one knows who they are or where they are. Everyone except Brian, that is, who now has the memories of all 110 passengers and members of the flight crew. However, he can’t control when these recollections will pop to the forefront of his brain—sometimes he wakes up unsure of his own name, what his interests are, or even what he was doing just a few moments before. Brian just wants to get rid of these excess memories and resume his normal, happy relationship with Brenda, to whom he’s engaged to be married. Doctors don’t know what to make of what’s happening to him, although one nurse, Marci, shows an unusual interest in him; she’s after very specific memories from Brian and even tries to overwhelm his senses with a makeout session that feels oddly familiar to him. Soon, Brian recalls talking to Marci about being able to transmit memories from one person to another—but whose memory is he experiencing? Debut author Austin delivers a psychological thriller novel with just enough science fiction mixed in to interest fans of either genre. The story can feel jarring and confusing at times, as Brian fades in and out of other people’s recollections and lives and the text occasionally falls into a stream-of-consciousness style. The tale is told from Brian’s point of view but also from the perspective of whomever’s in the lead in his head at a given time. However, the author makes sure that his protagonist floats in and out of memories seamlessly, giving the overall narrative a steady flow that makes for an easy read.

An intriguing, original tale for readers looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949398-49-6

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Rhetoric Askew, LLC

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2021

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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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  • 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

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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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.


Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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