Greaney dumps a ton of trouble on the hero, and there’s never a dull page.


The title doesn’t say much. Greaney could accurately have called this military thriller Bloodbath: A Love Story.

Josh Duffy loses a leg doing mercenary work in Lebanon, so three years later he has sunk to being “the sheriff of Tysons Galleria” in Virginia, ashamed that he can’t fully provide for his wife, Nikki, and their two children. She’s an ex-Army captain and chopper pilot who’d been shot down in Iraq and rescued by—wait for it—Josh Duffy. True love and hard times follow; a nasty, failed protection detail in the Middle East leaves the protectee dead and Josh’s life forever changed. Now Nikki is a full-time mom running a small cleaning business to tide them over. Then Duffy has a seemingly chance encounter with another merc at the mall who expresses shock that “Duff from Jalalabad is a fucking mall cop!” The friend quickly sets him up with Armored Saint, which has a rep of being the worst private military contractor on the planet. “Armored Saint? Those guys are psychos,” says Duffy. “This gig is dog shit,” says his old pal, “but it pays through the roof” and will get Duffy out of his immediate financial straits. Desperate, he signs up for a three-week gig to lead one of three teams protecting a U.N. delegation that hopes to broker peace among warring cartels in Mexico’s Sierra Madre. It should be a straightforward mission and easy money. But even before they reach the treacherous ridge called the Devil’s Spine, guns start blazing and bodies start falling. Josh’s own team is a handful, questioning his leadership with smartass comments even before they learn about his prosthetic leg. Meanwhile, Josh and Nikki are often on the phone as he tries with increasing difficulty to reassure her that all is well. She wants him home safely, but at the rate things are going, he’ll come home in a box. How she shows her fierce love for her husband is both implausible and contrived, but it’s great fun for the reader.

Greaney dumps a ton of trouble on the hero, and there’s never a dull page.

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43687-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 79

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

One of the most successful of Box’s increasingly ambitious have-it-all thrillers.


The Wyoming winter brings maverick game warden Joe Pickett poachers, murderers, spies, and some ferocious bad weather.

Seeking a wounded elk and a marauding wolf during a brutal snowstorm, Joe is amazed to discover a human corpse sticking halfway out of a metal outbuilding on the Double Diamond ranch. While he’s conscientiously photographing the crime scene, somebody starts shooting at him. Ranch foreman Clay Hutmacher refuses to say anything about the building’s purpose until he checks with billionaire ranch owner Michael Thompson; Gov. Colter Allen abruptly orders Joe off the case; and departing Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Scott Tibbs, the boss who’d do anything to avoid having Joe make waves, reports that there’s no body at the place he described. Meanwhile, Joe’s old friend Nate Romanowski, an outlaw falconer, is approached by ex–Army Ranger Jason Demo, who’s trying to attract anti-government malcontents to join the secessionist Sovereign Nation, and Joe realizes that his predatory mother-in-law, Missy, is neglecting her fifth or sixth husband, attorney Marcus Hand, who’s dying of pancreatic cancer, to cozy up to Allen, who plans to launch his campaign for reelection at the public library headed by Joe’s wife, Marybeth. What does the death of University of Wyoming engineering professor Zhang Wei, if that’s really who the dead man was, have to do with all of this malfeasance? Like a patient spider, Box plays out plotline after plotline, balancing his sympathies adroitly between anti-establishment libertarians who’ve had enough of the coastal elites and officers sworn to serve and protect their communities, before knotting them all together with a climactic revelation that for better or worse will leave you gasping.

One of the most successful of Box’s increasingly ambitious have-it-all thrillers.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2023

ISBN: 9780593331309

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

Did you like this book?