A tightly woven medical thriller fusing justice for abuse victims with the tapped power of the mind.


From the St. Augustus Chronicles series , Vol. 2

Goodison’s (The Jigsaw Man, 2015, etc.) second volume in the St. Augustus Chronicles centers on two half sisters who may be psychically linked.

In this family melodrama, an elderly driver strikes an 8-year-old girl named Chelsa who’s walking to school. The child becomes comatose, suffering permanent brain damage. In a classic war of wills over the welfare of their ailing daughter, Tim and Melanie Moran feud and eventually separate over a critical decision to terminate her life support. God-fearing Tim’s insistence on keeping his daughter alive prevails, but ultimately drives a wedge between him and his unscrupulous wife, who has been busy cheating on him with her boss to gain a job promotion. The couple separate, even as Melanie announces she is pregnant with a child that is not her husband’s. While Chelsa seems destined to live out the remainder of her years in a vegetative state, Melanie gives birth to a second daughter, Sienna, though the girl becomes plagued with mysterious fainting spells. Sienna’s malady confounds local Portland, Oregon, psychiatrist Rand Morrissey, who, from this early point in the swiftly paced novel, makes for an appealing hero. He anchors the plot, which develops further as hypnosis sessions find Sienna communicating through Chelsa’s disturbing memories. Meanwhile, Chelsa has been undergoing nerve stimulation treatments as a last-ditch effort to revive her brain functions, though it is Sienna who delves into her half sister’s mind and begins reenacting the violent physical abuse she endured. The varied histories of characters like Melanie and Morrissey add depth to the solidly written story. The doctor begins doggedly investigating Chelsa’s family’s past to verify the child abuse allegations stemming from Sienna’s hypnotically induced testimonies. And Melanie begins to unravel and falsely accuse the men in her life of random acts of abuse. The narrative gets even busier when Goodison incorporates arcane themes of human spiritual rebirth and the Christian theological theory of Limbo into the action, which culminates when Chelsa and Sienna are brought together in the same room. Though the psychic phenomena may be a stretch for some readers, the author does an admirable job of humanizing everything else in her rousing novel, making the entire ordeal an eerie possibility in real life.  

A tightly woven medical thriller fusing justice for abuse victims with the tapped power of the mind.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945136-04-7

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Sheffield Publications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2016

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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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  • 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

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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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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