Kubica is a helluva storyteller, and while this doesn't quite equal her best efforts, it’s still pretty darn good.


When Jessie Sloane's mother, Eden, dies of cancer, Jessie is left rudderless. Then she discovers she might not be the person she thought she was.

Jessie never knew her father, and she can’t bear to live in the house that she shared with Eden, so she puts it on the market. When she applies to community college, she gets a call with the alarming news that a death certificate was filed 17 years ago with her name and social security number on it. She'll need to get a copy of her social security card, but without a birth certificate or driver’s license—she doesn’t drive—it’s nearly impossible, and when a clerk takes pity on her and does a search, no records are found. It’s a vicious circle, and it hampers her ability to find an apartment, although she does eventually find a place in a small carriage house she rents from reclusive widow Ms. Geissler. Unfortunately, in addition to the question of her identity, she’s got a more pressing problem: Jessie has insomnia, and as the days pass and she doesn’t sleep, she begins to hear and see things, eventually wondering how long she can go without sleep before it kills her. Woven with Jessie’s first-person narrative is Eden’s tale, beginning 20 years ago in 1996 when she’s only 28. She and her husband, Aaron, are crazy in love and desperately hope for a child, but as time passes and they don’t conceive, they begin trying more aggressive, and more expensive, methods. Eden’s obsession builds to a fever pitch, threatening to tear her and Aaron apart. Jessie’s story, an effective study of grief, nightmarishly builds to its own fever pitch, and Kubica peppers her narrative with creepy, surreal touches that will have readers questioning reality right along with Jessie. Eden’s story, on the other hand, poignantly examines what it’s like to want a child so badly that you’ll do anything to have one. Can Jessie find out who she really is before it’s too late? It all leads to a denouement that isn't very surprising, but a lesser writer might not have been able to pull off the final twist.

Kubica is a helluva storyteller, and while this doesn't quite equal her best efforts, it’s still pretty darn good.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7783-3078-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Park Row Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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

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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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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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