A well-plotted, often engaging murder mystery.

BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

In this Midwestern thriller, a disgraced former detective revisits the murder investigation that caused his downfall.

Tony Deluca is a tough, talented homicide detective who, after moving from his native Chicago to Madison, Wis., had his life turned upside down. Years ago, when his investigation of college girl Karen Sumner’s murder went suspiciously awry, thanks to missing evidence and information leaks, he was dismissed from the force, abandoned by his family and forced to take a job as a bar security guard. However, his seemingly dead-end life becomes a lot more exciting when, while fishing, he discovers the body of Chicago lawyer Jennifer Harding at the bottom of a lake. Shortly afterward, the lead suspect in Karen Sumner’s murder, whom Tony wasn’t able to arrest, also turns up dead. Tony becomes determined to find out if the two deaths are connected—and if Karen’s murderer is still on the loose. He uses his connections in the Chicago and Madison police departments to reinsert himself into the investigation, and he quickly starts to unravel the mystery. But he also uncovers new questions about why the first investigation was so bungled, and he soon wonders if there has been a coverup. If so, members of the police department could be involved, so whom can Tony trust? In his debut novel, Wark (Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning, 2001) creates a likable protagonist, and readers will root for Tony to solve the mystery and end up with his smart, sassy love interest, a bartending law student named Julie. The wonderfully constructed story delivers unexpected twists and turns that will keep readers engaged until they reach the shocking, last-gasp reveal of the murderer. This strong story’s weakness, however, is its dialogue, which sometimes sounds rehearsed (“I have to admit I’ve been wondering why you picked me as your dinner date over all the other eligible bachelors I’m sure you meet on a daily basis”). That said, many readers will enjoy this story of Tony’s quest for justice.

A well-plotted, often engaging murder mystery. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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