NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM

Preying on the fears of Americans, militant Islamic factions plot the downfall and overthrow of America from within.

In Bergsgaard’s thriller, U.S. mercenaries kidnap a Taliban informant believed to have information vital to national security. Alex Stone, hired by multinational company Blackstone, delivers the kidnapped man, Ali Shah Masood—a member of the Islamic Council—to CIA agents in Afghanistan. Ali has information about plans the Islamic Council has to unleash the biblical plagues of Egypt (acts of terrorism on the U.S.) to force all U.S. troops to withdraw from the Middle East, then Israel can be destroyed with no U.S. interference. In seemingly unrelated incidents, four border patrolmen in Texas are murdered, red algae overtakes the Potomac River and flies and frogs engulf Arlington National Cemetery while railroad bridges are blown up and forest fires rage. Doc Martini, special agent with the Anti-Terrorism Force, is called on to investigate. With the help of Agent Susan Rivard, Martini finds connections among the events and unravels the secret plans of the Islamic Council before U.S. citizens panic and Israel is destroyed. The author uses his experience and knowledge as a special agent to create a storyline that feels fresh, honest and diabolical. Regulations and procedures stymie federal agents while perpetrators of crime slip through U.S. society seemingly unhindered. Written in a tight, matter-of-fact tone, the story unfolds at a deliberate pace that keeps the reader engaged and in anticipation of the continued action. Events unfold on a day-by-day basis over a period of about two months. Some days have as many as six different entries in a dizzying array of locations including Pakistan, Spain, France, Italy and the White House, with multiple locations listed for Afghanistan and Minnesota. This approach leaves the reader feeling unsettled and confused at times, as well as looking at past chapters to reconnect plot lines. In places, the storyline depends too much on the surface tension of Islamic countries wanting the destruction of Israel, and could stand some bolstering with more in-depth character development of several of the Islamic Council members. A fast-paced, informed action/adventure story that holds the reader’s attention from cover to cover.

 

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1457505171

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2012

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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