A bombastic final entry that combines larger-than-life futurism with convincing ultraviolence to deliver a satisfying,...

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WRITTEN IN FIRE

From the Brilliance Trilogy series , Vol. 3

The war over a generation with superpowers comes to a final showdown.

Sakey (A Better World, 2014, etc.) brings his cinematic series to a ferocious close, capping off a three-book experiment in futuristic violence, societal catastrophe, and hyperkinetic storytelling. The world is at war. The White House has been destroyed, cities burned to the ground, and society is crumbling. In Wyoming, the small percentage of the population with extraordinary abilities retreats behind the walls of the Jerusalem-like city of Tesla. They hide behind the Vogler Ring, a wall of microwave weapons that threatens to fry invaders in gruesome fashion. But a new group of extremists called the New Sons of Liberty is determined to exterminate the Brilliants at Tesla. Meanwhile, a mad scientist named Abraham Couzen has discovered a method to turn normal people gifted. Since testing out his strange brew, Couzen has become a multifarious threat himself. Terrorist John Smith and his creepy time-aberrant henchman, Soren Johansen, are determined to weaponize Couzen’s creation, forcing evolution upon the planet. “I realized when I was eight years old that [this] wasn’t a world I could live in,” Smith confesses. “I decided to tear it down and build a better one. To pen a new history, one written in fire.” The two people standing between Smith and the end of the world are government agent Nick Cooper and his partner in heroics, Shannon Azzi, who must pit their own gifts against the world’s villains one more time, even at terrible cost. That said, it’s not all so grave. Locked in combat with one of Smith’s deadly henchmen, Cooper has a nice Indiana Jones moment: “All you need to do is tie him up long enough for the others to—Wait a second. You’re carrying an assault rifle.” This entry isn’t the best jumping-on point but serves as a thrilling reward for loyal readers and those willing to take the ride.

A bombastic final entry that combines larger-than-life futurism with convincing ultraviolence to deliver a satisfying, open-ended finale.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4778-2764-2

Page Count: 386

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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