An engrossing and creative story of the wonders of the unknown with an Icelandic accent.


An anthropologist and his sidekick investigate a mysterious video that may show a unicorn in this novel that blends an Icelandic adventure with magical realism.

Mark Sandoval’s alien abduction memoir was made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Brad Pitt, and he plans to study otherworldly beings further on a site visit to Iceland. Without revealing all of his aims, the self-described “renowned cultural anthropologist” and “famed cryptozoologist” enlists as his research assistant Brian Schutt, a headache-prone academic with a doctoral dissertation that's stuck in creative limbo back in Portland, Oregon. Schutt is mystified by the geometric scarring that covers his boss’s body—a “cosmic roadmap” or perhaps “warning or prophecy,” Sandoval’s memoir had suggested. Once both men trek to the Icelandic town of Hvíldarland, they bond over their shared fascination with mythical entities, cryptic creatures, and historical lore. Sandoval soon reveals the expedition’s true purpose: to investigate a grainy video sent to Sandoval of what looks like a unicorn on a pumpkin farm. Though Schutt is more skeptical, the trip provides a timely escape from his messy family melodrama and a dire health diagnosis. As they dig deeper into the area’s mystical folklore and haunted forest, all of it becomes a terrific thrill for Schutt, a man “still doggy-paddling through his academic career,” and Sandoval, hoping to lay claim to discovering the elusive creature with droppings that consist of “a gleaming coruscation of granulated glitter.” As in his Smoke City (2017), Rosson offers crisp characterization and surprising twists. Here he maps a magical journey through the wilds of rural Iceland and into a kaleidoscopic terrain filled with secretly active military bases and muddied body parts that sully what began as an innocent expedition into the supernatural. While the conclusion is disappointingly hokey and doesn’t quite measure up to the narrative mysticism and preternatural wonder preceding it, Rosson’s clever, swiftly paced story has more than enough to keep readers turning the pages and wanting to believe.

An engrossing and creative story of the wonders of the unknown with an Icelandic accent.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-946154-29-3

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Meerkat Press, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.


In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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