An unexpected treat of a detective novel with a strong heroine, making Ross a name to look out for.

The Daemoniac

From the A Dominion Mystery series , Vol. 1

A mystery invokes New York City streets, serial killer thrills, and the creator of Sherlock Holmes himself.

Brutal murders, perverse Latin inscriptions, and fingerprints seemingly burned into victims’ throats would scream “demon” to many in the sweltering streets of 1888 New York, but Harrison Fearing Pell has other ideas. Harry and her friend and assistant, John Weston, believe in what they can see, what they can prove—and in taking advantage of an opportunity. While her older sister, Myrtle, is a consulting detective of some renown, Harry is only 19, with few accomplishments. So, when a case reeking of blood and superstition walks into the office while Myrtle is away, Harry sees it as a perfect chance to prove herself. And as tension and fear over the killer known as “Mr. Hyde” rise throughout the city, the prize only seems to become sweeter. But as Harry and John chase leads through both the most dismal slums and glimmering boulevards the city has to offer, they come across more and more situations that force them to question if they—an armchair detective and a medical student—are in over their heads. And even if they have the confidence and encouragement of Harry’s uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, one wrong move might mean death—or worse. While the clever mystery is reason enough to keep pages turning, the novel’s writing remains its greatest asset. Employing a tone that affects the style of Victorian literature and the Conan Doyle stories, but without the stiffness readers might associate with older fiction, the prose is a genuine delight (At one point, Harry observes: “Everywhere, everywhere, were people, louder, looser and yes, happier than I was used to. Handsome and ugly, young and old, rich and poor. Dressed by Saville Row tailors, and sporting rags that made my own outfit seem like finery”). Furthermore, the characters conjure Holmes and Watson without belaboring the point or adopting a sense of smug superiority. Ross (Blood of the Prophet, 2016, etc.) provides two endlessly charming sleuths, and Harry’s womanhood adds new depth to familiar ground. All in all, there’s an impressive amount of detail and care packed into these pages, not only in references to the Holmes canon, but also in inventive storytelling and colorful portraiture of 19th-century New York.

An unexpected treat of a detective novel with a strong heroine, making Ross a name to look out for.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 281

Publisher: Acorn Independent Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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