Fans will bite their nails to the quick while they wait for all the characters who know bits and pieces of the story to pool...

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I'LL WALK ALONE

According to Clark’s unique take on identity theft, the thief doesn’t just want to steal your money but to ruin your credibility, snatch your son and take your life.

Interior designer Alexandra Moreland’s son disappeared from his stroller two years ago while Tiffany Shields, the babysitter Zan had hurriedly arranged to watch him, dozed nearby. Matthew’s trail has long gone cold until his fifth birthday, when a tabloid newspaper publishes a photograph of Zan removing him from his stroller. In a flash, all the friends who’ve stood by her for the past two years turn on her. Her ex, Ted Carpenter, the publicist she’d split up with before she ever knew she was pregnant, winds up their dinner at the Four Seasons by accusing her of kidnapping his son. Architect Kevin Wilson, a prospective client who’s been about to choose her designs over those of her former boss Bartley Longe, begins to waver. Bartley, who never forgave Zan for leaving his shop to set up her own, spews venom into NYPD ears. So does Tiffany, frantic to take this opportunity to defend herself against all the innuendo she’s endured. Even Zan’s friends Alvirah and Willy Meehan, long familiar to the Clark faithful (The Lottery Winner, 1994, etc.), speculate whether she could have stolen Matthew during one of her mysterious blackouts. Only her loyal assistant, Josh Green, sticks by her side, and even he wonders who ordered the bolts of fabric that have begun to arrive at their office even though she swears she didn’t order them. Meanwhile, Toby Grissom, who hasn’t long to live, flies in from Texas to search for his daughter, Brittany La Monte, an aspiring actress and makeup expert who came to New York to make her fortune but disappeared shortly before Matthew.

Fans will bite their nails to the quick while they wait for all the characters who know bits and pieces of the story to pool their knowledge before the malefactor can strike again. Experts on identity theft will marvel that no matter what raw material goes into the Clark hopper, it all comes out looking much the same.

Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-8096-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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

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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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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