While the science is intriguing, the ridiculously high body count feels gratuitous and comes at the cost of much-needed...



A young girl holds the key to an explosive, decades-old mind-control experiment gone wrong in Thomas’ debut thriller.

When 11-year-old Ashanique Walters claims to “see” the death of Pvt. George Edwin Ellison, a soldier who died in Belgium in 1918, Ashanique’s mother, Janice—who, as a child, was the subject of an experiment to alter memories called Project Clarity—knows that Ashanique will need help soon. The visions will get worse, eventually overwhelming her and driving her insane. When Dr. Matilda Deacon, a University of Chicago professor who has been working to unlock the mysteries of memory, hears about Ashanique, she's intrigued by the girl's mind-blowing tale. Unfortunately, because of Matilda’s visit, word of Ashanique’s visions gets to the people Janice fears the most, and Janice knows they’ll have to run. Janice is good at this—she’s been on the run from the Clarity scientists for 20 years. When knife-wielding men in scrubs, dubbed the “Night Doctors,” come for her and Ashanique, they escape and head to Matilda’s workplace, where Janice hopes to find a supply of MetroChime, which will keep Ashanique’s visions at bay. Rade, an ultracreepy assassin who’s convinced he’s more than human, is given the job of bringing Janice in, convinced she alone possesses something they call the "solution." When Rade captures Janice, Matilda takes Ashanique and goes on the run to protect her. Rade is close behind, and he doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone in his way. There might be people who can help Ashanique, if she and Matilda can make it to them alive. Luckily, they have intrepid homicide detective Kojo Omaboe, who also sees something special in Ashanique, on their side. The idea of accessing past lives and memories is an intriguing one, but the precise goal of the experimentation isn't made clear. Glimpses of Ashanique's visions into the lives of various people of the past, such as a family that lived more than a million years ago and a young boy in 17th-century India, don’t do much to lift this out of generic hunt-and-chase territory.

While the science is intriguing, the ridiculously high body count feels gratuitous and comes at the cost of much-needed character development. Empty thrills.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5693-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Leopoldo & Co/ Atria

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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