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YOU'VE BEEN SUMMONED

AN INTERACTIVE MYSTERY

A gamified reading experience that effectively pulls the reader into the story.

Awards & Accolades

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Our Verdict

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In Lamar’s formally playful mystery novel, the reader is the private investigator in a case of attempted murder.

This thriller combines a murder mystery with a puzzle game, positioning the reader as the investigator. Provided with multiple case files presented in a specific order, readers are called to solve the mystery as they sift through the evidence. These case files take the forms of diagrams, letters, diary entries, and police interviews, each filled with potential clues as to the culprit and motives behind the mysteries presented in the novel. The primary mystery, set in 2023, concerns the disappearance of Sillian Parks. Much of this evidence is relayed by Jane Parks, Sillian’s twin sister. Jane takes the narrative reins for this portion of the novel, though she proves to not be the most reliable of narrators. This is one of the novel’s triumphs: Simple obfuscation owing to the narrative’s point of view works wonders in keeping the mystery alive, even as clues are not-so-subtly revealed. The book is divided into 10 “Case Files,” which are further divided into smaller pieces of evidence. Most of the files conclude with hints for the reader to consider about the clues provided throughout, and the head detective delivers larger updates at some crucial points. Apart from Jane’s portions of the narrative, the most plentiful evidence comes from the diary of Mary Sophomore, who famously disappeared, along with her twin sister and their husbands, in the 1940s. This thread provides a parallel narrative to the twins in the present day, and their connection becomes integral to solving the mystery. The historical account is the most engaging element of the novel, as Lamar’s prose displays delightful wit in these passages (“next to the abandoned body that the ants had already found, I turned to face her and speak in a hushed tone. ‘I’m forever in debt. Thank you.’ She placed her hand on the car’s door handle. ‘Yes, you are’”). All of characters read as white, but there is some diversity in sexual orientation.

A gamified reading experience that effectively pulls the reader into the story.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9798218323851

Page Count: 378

Publisher: Experiment 42

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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CITY IN RUINS

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

The dramatic conclusion to the trilogy about two New England crime families begun in City on Fire (2022) and City of Dreams (2023).

Near the end of his journey, multimillionaire Danny Ryan watches a casino implode in a mushroom cloud of dust and muses about his life’s implosions: “The cancer that killed his wife, the depression that destroyed his love, the moral rot that took his soul.” Danny is from Providence, Rhode Island, and desperately tried to leave his criminal life behind him. But using a ton of ill-gotten gains, he invests heavily in Las Vegas properties. Congress is conducting an investigation into gambling that could destroy his casino business and even land him in jail. An FBI agent plans to take Danny down for major sins he’d like to repent for. Meanwhile, can he make peace with his enemies? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Even if the parties involved want to put the past behind them, the trouble is that they don’t trust each other. Is Vern Winegard setting Dan up? Is Dan setting Vern up? “Trust? Trust is children waiting for Santa Claus.” So what could have been a “Kumbaya,” nobody-wants-to-read-this story turns into a grisly bloodletting filled with language that would set Sister Mary Margaret’s wimple on fire—figuratively speaking, as she’s not in the book. But the Catholic reference is appropriate: Two of the many colorful characters of ill repute are known as the Altar Boys, serving “Last Communion” to their victims. On the law-abiding side and out of the line of fire is an ex-nun-turned-prosecutor nicknamed Attila the Nun, who’s determined to bring justice for a gory matricide. (Rhode Island really had such a person, by the way.) Finally, the prose is just fun: A friend warns Dan about Allie Licata: “In a world of sick fucks, even the sick fucks think Licata’s a sick fuck.” A couple of things to note: This not only ends the trilogy, but it also closes out the author’s career, as he has said he’ll write no more novels.

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780063079472

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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THREE-INCH TEETH

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

A bear is hunting prey in Wyoming’s Bighorns. And not just any bear.

It’s bad enough that Clay Hutmacher, who manages the Double Diamond Ranch, has lost his son, Clay Jr., to a vicious attack by a grizzly bear. What’s much worse is that Clay Jr.—who’d been about to pop the question to game warden Joe Pickett’s daughter, Sheridan—is only the first of the victims over an exceptionally broad geographical area. Marshal Marvin Bertignolli is clawed and bitten to death over in Hanna. Sgt. Ryan Winner is found bleeding out north of Rawlins. Former Twelve Sleep County prosecutor Dulcie Schalk, one of two survivors of an ambush, doesn’t survive her final encounter. The four experts chosen to kill the grizzly rope Joe into their expedition, but since their quarry keeps turning up far from the last sighting, the most meaningful confrontation the Predator Attack Team has is with a pair of Mama Bears, animal rights activists who demand due process for Tisiphone, as they’ve dubbed the presumed killer. Box, who’s far too canny to leave Tisiphone alone on center stage, follows Joe’s old antagonist Dallas Cates as the ex–rodeo star is released from prison and embarks on his revenge tour, which takes him to Lee Ogburn-Russell, an inventor whose life Dallas saved, and Axel Soledad, a correspondent who shares so many enemies with Dallas that he suggests they go after them together. Franchise fans will appreciate new details about Joe’s complicated family, the obligatory high-country landscapes, and yet another corrupt law enforcer.

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780593331347

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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