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A GOOD MARRIAGE

A smartly plotted and altogether successful union of legal thriller and domestic suspense.

A white-collar criminal defense attorney takes on the case of a millionaire accused of the brutal murder of his wife in McCreight’s new thriller.

It’s only been a few months since Lizzie Kitsakis joined the prestigious New York law firm Young & Crane. It’s not her dream job, but her husband Sam’s alcoholism has put them in a precarious financial position, and she can’t afford to be picky. When her college friend Zach Grayson, now a millionaire, calls her from Rikers, he tells her he’s the prime suspect in the gruesome murder of his wife, Amanda, and is being held on an assault charge with no bail while awaiting indictment. He wants Lizzie, and no one else, to represent him, and she’s surprised when her boss tells her to take the case. Lizzie believes Zach is innocent, and by all accounts, Amanda was a devoted wife and a wonderful mother to their son, Case, who is away at camp. No one can think of a motive for her murder. However, the events leading up to the case are fodder for a gossip-obsessed press: Zach and Amanda reportedly attended a party the night of her death, at which parents of students from the upscale Brooklyn Country Day school let loose while the kids were away at various summer activities. The hostess even encouraged couples to use her upstairs rooms for a bit of partner swapping. Meanwhile, someone has hacked into the records of Brooklyn Country Day families, digging up dirt and threatening blackmail. Then Lizzie discovers Amanda’s journals, and it becomes clear that her life and marriage may have been darker and more complex than they appeared. Lizzie knows a bit about keeping secrets, and as she gets closer to the truth, she wonders if Zach might not be so innocent after all. McCreight’s law credentials lend authenticity to the legal proceedings and to Lizzie’s high-stakes tango with a formidable assistant district attorney eager to put her in her place. Lizzie’s narrative alternates with one that details Amanda’s movements for a few days before her murder, and McCreight expertly weaves multiple plot threads with a few sly red herrings, paving the way to a series of surprising, and satisfying, reveals.

A smartly plotted and altogether successful union of legal thriller and domestic suspense.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-236768-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THE SILENT PATIENT

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

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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. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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