Raises the stakes of the original novel, with the same focus on social commentary mixed lightly with the action of a...




A beleaguered journalist returns to investigate a worldwide conspiracy utilizing genetically modified organisms for population control.

Fancying itself the steward of humanity, a shadowy group of elites has built an impressive and abominable network of corporations. The GMO–producing company Naintosa manufactures genetically altered food that causes cancer, while its sister pharmaceutical company, Pharmalin, produces the drugs to treat it. Threatening this built-in bottom line are the investigative journalists of Verigin’s (Dark Seed, 2013) first novel, Nick Barnes and Sue Clark, backed by commando-esque retired oil tycoon Jack Carter, who, together with a regretful ex-employees are able to craft a scathing exposé that closes down the companies’ Bolivian branches. Fast-forward and Nick is living a sequestered, paranoid life, failing to write a novel while the media juggernaut that is Global Mark Communications suppresses the work he and Sue risked their lives to uncover. But as people begin dying around him again, Nick finds himself once more allied with Carter and his cadre of armed guards, investigating an overlooked side effect of Naintosa and Pharmalin meddling: human sterilization. This quiet genocide turns what was merely an inhumane moneymaking scheme into a horrific plan of population control, and if Nick and company wish to upend the dangerous cabal behind it, they will have to use every resource at their oilman’s disposal to stay alive. The potbellied Nick is a nontraditional but relatable hero. He panics, he cries, he checks out cleavage at every opportunity, but ultimately he remains brave and committed to the truth. The story is told largely in the first person from his point of view, the narration’s slight awkwardness reflecting Nick’s own gawkiness. There’s plenty of action, from woodland shootouts to ATV chases, even a deadly golf-balling, all necessary breaks from the book’s whole chapters of research and exposition. Curious readers should find many of the topics about GMOs particularly intriguing, with ties to real-world science. The ending leaves much still unanswered and Nick once more in jeopardy, an Empire Strikes Back moment no doubt prepping the continuation of the series.

Raises the stakes of the original novel, with the same focus on social commentary mixed lightly with the action of a globe-spanning spy thriller.  

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-987857-55-9

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Promontory Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2017

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


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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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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