BENJAMIN FRANKLINSTEIN LIVES!

Nerdy Victor is literally blasted out of his compulsively regimented ways when “Frank Benjamin,” waking from 200 years of suspended animation, moves into a nearby apartment. Being a human battery with electricity-conducting bolts embedded in his neck and veins filled with “harmonic fluid,” Ben—er, Frank—has a tendency to run amok when overcharged or devolve into a zombielike state when the juice runs low—conditions that the authors exploit to hilarious effect as they send young Victor scurrying across Philadelphia after his new neighbor and mentor, discovering a secret lab buried beneath their rundown building and rebuilding his elaborate but derivative science-fair volcano into an experimental one so massively destructive that even Victor is left impressed and proud. Frequent technical diagrams and actual patent drawings add a luster of Real Science to the antics, and 18th-century veneer is provided by Poor Richard's Almanack–style borders and display type. The balance struck between Victor’s methodical approach and Ben’s “we’ll have to trust our instincts, whack away at the problem, and hope for the best” attitude provide some food for thought, too. Expect sequels. (Sci-fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25229-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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Bold deeds, betrayals, and buffoonery kick off this series with gusto.

THE WILD ONES

From the Wild Ones series , Vol. 1

Treacherous urban pets try to renege on an ancient deal with the wild residents of a city alleyway, and a young raccoon finds himself caught in the middle in this all-animal dramedy.

His parents done in by a pack of hired bloodhounds, Kit flees his beloved woodlands for squalid Ankle Snap Alley, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where he immediately falls afoul of a pair of raccoon hustlers and the feared Rabid Rascals gang. Worse yet, he is also targeted by miniature greyhound Titus, leader of the Flealess (or house pets), and vicious cat Sixclaw. They think he carries a possible clue to the whereabouts of the missing Bone of Contention that accords the alley’s formerly feral residents a right to settle there. Fortunately, Kit not only falls in with Eeni, a savvy rat who vows friendship “from howl to snap” (i.e., birth to, well…), but finds other allies too while proving himself no slouch when it comes to quick thinking and courage in the clutch. Despite metal traps springing and some spilled blood, the tale features but one onstage death; London further lightens the load with references to such appetizing alley cuisine as Daily Trash Casserole plus a diverse supporting cast highlighted by evangelical church mice and a retired fighting cock–turned-hairdresser.

Bold deeds, betrayals, and buffoonery kick off this series with gusto. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17099-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A boisterous, gusty romp and an exhilarating debut.

THE MALONEYS' MAGICAL WEATHERBOX

Meteorological catastrophe threatens when an evildoer brings all four Seasons to Ireland at once.

On appointed days, Neil and Liz’s father, the Weatherman, need only step out to the old-fashioned booth in the road in front of the family’s B&B and summon the next season through the ringing phone. It’s an ancient bargain—suddenly imperiled when the Maloneys’ malign neighbor, Mrs. Fitzgerald, sets in motion a scheme to take the job for herself by having the phone disconnected. Not only is the country stuck with Summer, but the failure draws the other immense, irascible entities down for a stormy enquiry. Furthermore, to counter any defenses, Mrs. Fitzgerald cleverly tricks Neil into freeing a brand new baby Season through which she can control a host of destructive weather elementals. An unusually varied cast ranging from eldritch magical figures to seemingly ordinary mortals with surprising depths and even, shades of Terry Pratchett, a cheery Tourist is sucked into the author’s tale as it whirls toward its climatic climax. The premise doesn’t bear close examination, but Quinlan throws together such an engaging mix of desperate ploys, frantic conversational hubbubs, embedded yarns, bursts of blarney, wild weather battles, sacrifices, and admirably courageous acts that readers will be less inclined to analyze faults than just go with it all to see where it leads.

A boisterous, gusty romp and an exhilarating debut. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-033-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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