A stylish murder tale that doesn’t quite achieve its own aspirations.



A mystery novel tells the story of a man’s involvement in two homicides separated by decades and continents.

Otis Oliver was almost at the Sex Pistols’ historic second show in 1976 in Manchester, England, but he was turned away at the door for only being 8 years old. During his sad walk home, he had the misfortune of discovering a mutilated murder victim lying in an alley: “A Mod sacrificed on the altar of indie with a sweet little bob and a PVC coat open to show a bright and tight minidress under’t all, stained and soaked dark now with blood come streaming down from new holes bored into her neck and a cavern hollowed from her stomach.” Now 49, Otis is a bestselling author and podcaster who lives in the mountains of Colorado with his sister and nephew. This morning, he sees something unexpected in the newspaper: another woman murdered and disfigured in the exact same way, this time in nearby Telluride. What are the chances of this happening? Otis quickly sets out to find the photographer who reported on the new killing, who sends him to the college student who discovered the victim. At a college poetry reading in Denver, Otis encounters Mary, an enigmatic but beautiful woman who might be Mary Shelley. Or James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia. As Otis tries to put together the signs and wonders around him—the words “suffer a sea change,” the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, and a whole swath of literary coincidences—he may find the solution to both murders or maybe something even greater about himself. In this ambitious novel, Ingwalson’s (The Baby Monitor, 2017, etc.) prose slips in and out of Otis’ Mancunian dialect, flecked with rich allusions to rock, literature, and various Colorado locales. Otis’ voice is noirish in a way that will strike some readers as lyric and others as a bit labored: “For a few seconds I stared back, my eyes gone black as cats as I surveyed the silk of her neck. This one’s world had been night for far too long. She’d never seen a beach, she’d never cared for light. A streetlamp kicked on and it made her flesh milk-flesh.” This is an elegant mystery in the mode of Thomas Pynchon or Jonathan Lethem, invested more in the journey than the outcome. But even by those parameters, the ending is somewhat less than satisfying.

A stylish murder tale that doesn’t quite achieve its own aspirations.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019


Page Count: 94

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

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.


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?

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?