Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging-into-your-palms suspense.

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YOU WILL KNOW ME

Abbott's latest thriller (The Fever, 2014, etc.) is about everyday lives changed forever by an exceptional individual—in this case an Olympic gymnastics hopeful.

"So many things you never think you'll do until you do them." This speaks volumes of truth for Devon Knox, who forces her body to pick fights with gravity for hours every day. To her mother, Katie, watching from the bleachers, it seems impossible that her daughter will land on her feet, until she does. Devon is extraordinary, and the normal-on-the-surface Knox family can't help but fly toward this one extra-bright light. Devon's dad, Eric, is obsessively devoted to the cause, fundraising constantly for gym BelStars and heading up the booster club. Gregarious Coach T. relies on his star gymnast to attract business; nothing is shinier than having an Olympic hopeful under his wing. But when tragedy strikes and Coach T.'s tumbling-coach niece, Hailey, learns her much-loved boyfriend, Ryan, is dead in a hit-and-run—only a couple of months before Elite Qualifiers—the gym begins to unravel. Devon, especially, can't afford any missteps. Her success relies on structure, and Eric promises he’ll do anything to keep Devon on that golden track. When Hailey starts threatening Devon and the Knoxes' painfully sweet and observant son, Drew, starts talking about things he hears in the night, the whole gym family, Katie especially, begins to wonder just who might've had it in them to mow Ryan down. After all, you never know what you're capable of until you test your limits. With Elite Qualifiers looming, readers will begin to question what they think to be true right alongside the characters. Getting picky, readers will also catch on to one major plot element well before it’s revealed, but Abbott makes the blindness of parents relatable; they come close to collapse on a regular basis from the pressures of their demanding schedules. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to an anomaly is something else entirely.

Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging-into-your-palms suspense.

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-23107-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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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