A thriller with a down-to-earth protagonist whose misadventures are invigorating.

POINT OF RETURN

AN IAN MACLEOD ACTION THRILLER

A Scottish accountant becomes a target for gangsters and Scotland Yard in Tosoff’s (Escape from Konigsberg, 2016, etc.) thriller-series launch.

After nearly a decade in a loveless marriage, Ian MacLeod returns to his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, from Brighton, England. Things look up when he meets fetching criminal profiler Kyla Fraser and runs into former schoolmate Jordie Dunsmuir, who offers him a job. However, the gig at Jordie’s accounting firm, RIA, may be too good to be true. It consists of “night audits” in which Ian secretly looks into other accounting firms to uncover suspicious activity. His first job is digging into London company SXZ Enterprises, where he unearths financial fraud and, surprisingly, a much more unsavory crime. Then someone at SXZ, who had a pre-existing tie to Ian, turns up murdered, pointing police toward the accountant as a suspect. Ian links the murder to an earlier death involving the Glasgow mob and later pilfers a substantial amount of money from another mob-affiliated company. With authorities and gangsters on his tail, Ian needs help from anywhere he can find it, including from Kyla at Scotland Yard. But their romantic involvement could put them both in danger. Tosoff’s novel is a worthy introduction to its protagonist, whose descent into events beyond his control is plausible as well as riveting. His coupling with Kyla happens too quickly, but it does launch an unorthodox relationship. Kyla, for example, learns about Ian’s history via interviews with his ex-wife, Judith Reid, and former roommate Danny McGinnis, the latter of whom may be the reason why Ian high-tailed it out of Glasgow years ago. Scenes with the villains provide more depth; inevitable mistrust among them ultimately results in more death. The story maintains its swift momentum as Ian goes on the run, but there’s room for humor, too; for example, to find out how to unlock a desk during a night audit, Ian does something smart and a bit droll—he uses Google.

A thriller with a down-to-earth protagonist whose misadventures are invigorating.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 403

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2017

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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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DEVOLUTION

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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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