Reeves’ uncommonly assured novel, by turns sensitive and scarifying, identifies an elusive target and hits it dead on.

THE DANGERS OF AN ORDINARY NIGHT

Family counselor Reeves’ fourth novel is a three-act tragedy that peers beneath every parent’s worst nightmare and asks which of the statistically normal traumas underneath precipitated it.

Two days after best friends June Danforth and Natalie Carrington leave an audition at The Performing Arts High School of Boston and vanish, caretaker Charles Turner Stockbridge finds them on secluded Watties Beach, June dead of exposure, Tali still alive. Who kidnapped the 17-year-olds and left them to die? It would be nice to believe that the perp must be a drifter from outside their social circle, but Detective Fitz Jameson finds himself concentrating on several suspects unpleasantly close to the two young women: Stockbridge, who can’t explain why he found June, who died facedown, lying face up; Sam Wallace, a sophomore at Performing Arts who’s clearly its star actor; his stage mother, Ana, who’s resolved that the show must go on whatever the cost to Tali; insensitive director Greg Normand, whose reflexive response to any crisis is more bullying; and Zeke Carrington, Tali’s father, whose gambling addiction had beholden him to such seriously dangerous creditors that his wife, Nell, is considering divorce proceedings. Working with psychiatrist Dr. Cynthia Rawlins, who’s more than eager to quit her brutally taxing job of trauma counseling for a teaching job at Boston College, Fitz, who’s hiding a dark secret of his own, hunkers down to unearth the truth to the accompaniment of 27 chapter titles drawn from 27 plays.

Reeves’ uncommonly assured novel, by turns sensitive and scarifying, identifies an elusive target and hits it dead on.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64385-865-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Not the best of Connelly’s procedurals, but nobody else does them better than his second-best.

DESERT STAR

A snap of the yo-yo string yanks Harry Bosch out of retirement yet again.

Los Angeles Councilman Jake Pearlman has resurrected the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit in order to reopen the case of his kid sister, Sarah, whose 1994 murder was instantly eclipsed in the press by the O.J. Simpson case when it broke a day later. Since not even a councilor can reconstitute a police unit for a single favored case, Det. Renée Ballard and her mostly volunteer (read: unpaid) crew are expected to reopen some other cold cases as well, giving Bosch a fresh opportunity to gather evidence against Finbar McShane, the crooked manager he’s convinced executed industrial contractor Stephen Gallagher, his wife, and their two children in 2013 and buried them in a single desert grave. The case has haunted Bosch more than any other he failed to close, and he’s fine to work the Pearlman homicide if it’ll give him another crack at McShane. As it turns out, the Pearlman case is considerably more interesting—partly because the break that leads the unit to a surprising new suspect turns out to be both fraught and misleading, partly because identifying the killer is only the beginning of Bosch’s problems. The windup of the Gallagher murders, a testament to sweating every detail and following every lead wherever it goes, is more heartfelt but less wily and dramatic. Fans of the aging detective who fear that he might be mellowing will be happy to hear that “putting him on a team did not make him a team player.”

Not the best of Connelly’s procedurals, but nobody else does them better than his second-best.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-48565-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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