by Ken Jaworowski ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 1, 2023
A satisfying thriller with finely drawn, highly sympathetic characters.
In a lonesome town, three locals embark on treacherous paths toward adventure.
In Locksburg, Pennsylvania, a backwater where nothing much happens, folks keep to themselves and keep their heads down; they wrestle with despair and heartbreak and struggle in the clutches of multiplying problems. This includes locals Andy Devon, a former junkie whose wife and child have recently died; lonely, disfigured nurse Callie, who tends a dying girl at the close of stage 4 cancer; and volunteer fireman Nathan Stultz, the kind of nice guy who’s always tried to do the right thing and only ever suffered for it. But then, fate intervenes. Andy stumbles upon a briefcase full of child pornography and sees a way to save his life and make it worthwhile by catching the pedophile priest responsible. Callie decides to risk her career to make her patient’s final wish come true: to drive across the state and see the ocean. And Nathan, in a burning house with his arms full of a man he’s trying to rescue, finds $2 million in stolen drug money, a windfall that could finally allow him to leave the town that’s been holding him back for so long. In a suspenseful, intertwining narrative, Jaworowski crafts a tale of three souls grasping at slippery chances, finding themselves with no way out other than to keep pushing forward into new, disturbing places. Andy’s plan to catch a predator goes horribly awry. Callie’s jaunt to the sea quickly turns more perilous than she could have ever foreseen. And Nathan’s secreted stash, just waiting for him to finalize his plans to high-tail it out of town, releases a former lover’s spite and destructive vindictiveness. Locksburg, for all its remoteness, its staleness and vacuity, never seemed so full of dangerous, teeming forms of life. And death.A satisfying thriller with finely drawn, highly sympathetic characters.
Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023
Page Count: 272
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Mitch Albom ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 14, 2023
A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.
Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.
Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.
Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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