Next book

THE ALEUTIAN VOYAGE...HANG ON!

A credible approximation of a 19th-century diary that deftly blends history and horror.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A perilous 19th-century voyage to the wilds of Alaska awakens a subterranean terror.

This lively work of historical horror opens in 1866 when President Andrew Johnson assigns Interior Department Field Director Jack Calsin to survey the Alaskan territory that the U.S. is about to purchase from Russia. Johnson hopes it will bolster his chances in the upcoming election if the survey finds evidence of gold and other valuable resources. In Jack’s first-person account, trouble begins when one of the ship’s main boilers explodes, killing crew members. From then on, the catastrophes mount—fatal illnesses, a destructive storm, and a disastrous landing on Alaska’s coast. Even as Jack is given a brief respite to marvel at the abundant wildlife, plentiful ore deposits, and rugged beauty of the surroundings, the author ups the suspense with the threat of something deadly looming. “A creature,” says a tribal shaman, “who hunts during the anger of the big wind and frozen water!” (Although short at 80 pages, the 19th-century setting of this illustrated tale and the wonders and terrors Jack observes during his ill-fated trip are reminiscent of the Jules Verne 1871 classic, Journey to the Center of the Earth.) Marich knowledgeably weaves the historical into the fantastical with references to Johnson’s role in the fraught post­–Reconstruction Era, the bitterness of the ship’s crew (comprised of former Union soldiers) over Johnson’s leniency toward the Southern rebels, and the torment of the ship’s doctor, haunted by graphic memories of the dead and maimed on the Civil War battlefields. Touched upon here, too, is a sense of what life was like onboard a three-masted ship with coal-burning boilers. Scattered throughout are full-page illustrations of some of the story’s dramatic scenes roughly executed by the author in what appears to be charcoal, sepia, and colored pencil. A sequel is planned.

A credible approximation of a 19th-century diary that deftly blends history and horror.

Pub Date: April 25, 2022

ISBN: 9780965449151

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Marlet House Productions

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 176


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 176


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

SWAN SONG

Though Hilderbrand threatens to kill all our darlings with this last laugh, her acknowledgments say it’s just “for now.”

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A stranger comes to town, and a beloved storyteller plays this creative-writing standby for all it’s worth.

Hilderbrand fans, a vast and devoted legion, will remember Blond Sharon, the notorious island gossip. In what is purportedly the last of the Nantucket novels, Blond Sharon decides to pursue her lifelong dream of fiction writing. In the collective opinion of the island—aka the “cobblestone telegraph”—she’s qualified. “Well, we think, she’s certainly demonstrated her keen interest in other people’s stories, the seedier and more salacious, the better.” Blond Sharon’s first assignment in her online creative writing class is to create a two-person character study, and Hilderbrand has her write up the two who arrive on the ferry in an opening scene of the book, using the same descriptors Hilderbrand has. Amusingly, the class is totally unimpressed. “‘I found it predictable,’ Willow said. ‘Like maybe Sharon used ChatGPT with the prompt “Write a character study about two women getting off the ferry, one prep and one punk.”’” Blond Sharon abandons these characters, but Hilderbrand thankfully does not. They are Kacy Kapenash, daughter of retiring police chief Ed Kapenash (the other swan song referred to by the title), and her new friend Coco Coyle, who has given up her bartending job in the Virgin Islands to become a “personal concierge” for the other strangers-who-have-come-to-town. These are the Richardsons, Bull and Leslee, a wild and wealthy couple who have purchased a $22 million beachfront property and plan to take Nantucket by storm. As the book opens, their house has burned down during an end-of-summer party on their yacht, and Coco is missing, feared both responsible for the fire and dead. Though it’s the last weekend of his tenure, Chief Ed refuses to let the incoming chief, Zara Washington, take this one over. The investigation goes forward in parallel with a review of the summer’s intrigues, love affairs, and festivities. Whatever else you can say about Leslee Richardson, she knows how to throw a party, and Hilderbrand is just the writer to design her invitations, menus, themes, playlists, and outfits. And that hot tub!

Though Hilderbrand threatens to kill all our darlings with this last laugh, her acknowledgments say it’s just “for now.”

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9780316258876

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Close Quickview