THE HIDDEN

As dexterously shape-shifting as the legends it draws from.

Following her memorably creepy debut, Little Darlings (2019), Golding scaffolds an unsettling series of revelations on the folktale “The Mermaid Wife.”

As if eager to please Sgt. Friday, Golding begins with just the facts. Leonie Douglas is a toddler suddenly separated from her mother in a shop in the seaside town of Cleethorpes. Ruby Harper, violinist and teacher, shows up and claims Leonie as her daughter; she happens to be wearing the same outfit as Constance Douglas, the girl's actual mother. Diane Rathbone, the Social Services worker called to the scene by the fast-arriving police, questions Ruby briefly before letting her go, convinced that she couldn’t possibly harm the little girl she says is hers. Meanwhile, in response to a call from Sarah Stefanidis, who’s noticed a telltale drip from her ceiling, DS Joanna Harper and PC Steve Atkinson break into the silent flat above hers and find her neighbor Gregor Franks in his bathtub, filled with drugs, bleeding from a head wound, and close to death. A series of flashbacks show Ruby’s slow entanglement with Gregor and her baffled encounters with Constance, whom he describes as his housemate and ex-lover and who describes herself as a prisoner who longs to rejoin her people, the mythological selkies. Assigned to investigate the assault on Gregor, Joanna, who’s already demonstrated her cavalier attitude toward the rules, finds herself irresistibly drawn into an unauthorized search for Leonie and Ruby—and willing to tell just as many lies as Ruby about what she’s up to and why. Long before the end, readers will be questioning all their assumptions about who are the victims, who are the criminals, and exactly which facts really are the facts.

As dexterously shape-shifting as the legends it draws from.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64385-297-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

THE ATLAS MANEUVER

Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side.

Cotton Malone, who just can’t stay retired from international intrigue, joins the mad dance of competitors for a fortune in bitcoin.

So many people have forgotten about the horde of gold the retreating Japanese hid on Luzon Island in the Philippines that it’s not at all clear who has legal title to it. That’s perfect for Robert Citrone, the retired CIA overseer of the Black Eagle Trust, which has used the gold to fund covert operations around the world. Just as Derrick Koger, the European station chief for the CIA, is pulling Malone away from his Copenhagen bookstore to help him investigate possible misdeeds swirling around Luxembourg’s Bank of St. George and its ruthless chief operating officer, Catherine Gledhill, other interested parties turn up in often surprising connections. Freelance assassin Kyra Lhota executes Armenian oligarch Samvel Yerevan and moves on to her next target. Malone’s sometime lover Cassiopeia Vitt is snatched by high-ranking Japanese security chief Aiko Ejima. His former lover Suzy Baldwin resurfaces as Kelly Austin, BSG’s director of special technology, who’s concealing secrets from Malone and the rest of the world. They’re all on the trail of a fabulous cache of bitcoin that in the absence of any legal records of ownership will belong, like the Luzon gold, to anyone who can track it down and grab it. The grandly scaled complications that follow feature countless broken alliances and the deaths of a fearsome number of nonfranchise characters. An extended author’s note explains what’s historically accurate (quite a bit, as it turns out) and what’s fabricated (quite a bit more).

Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9781538721032

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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THE FURY

More style than substance.

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Michaelides takes a literary turn in his latest novel, employing an unreliable narrator, the structure of classical drama, and a self-conscious eye to dismantling the locked-room mystery.

The novel starts off with a murder, and with seven people trapped on an isolated Greek island lashed by a "wild, unpredictable Greek wind." The narrator, soon established as Elliot Chase, then zooms out to address the reader directly, introducing the players—most importantly movie star Lana Farrar. We meet her husband, Jason Miller, her son, Leo, and her friend Kate Crosby, a theater actress. We learn about her rise to fame and her older first husband, Otto Krantz, a Hollywood producer. We learn about Kate’s possibly stalling career and Leo’s plan to apply to acting schools against his mother’s wishes. We learn about Jason’s obsession with guns. And in fragments and shards, we learn about Elliot: his painful childhood; his May–September relationship with an older female writer, now dead; his passion for the theater, where he learned “to change everything about [himself]” to fit in. Though he isn't present in every scene, he conveys each piece of the story leading up to the murder as if he were an omniscient narrator, capable of accessing every character's interior perspective. When he gets to the climax, there is, indeed, a shooting. There is, indeed, a motive. And there is, of course, a twist. The atmosphere of the novel, set mostly on this wild Greek island, echoes strongly the classical tragedies of Greece. The characters are types. The emotions are operatic. And the tragedy, of course, leads us to question the idea of fate. Michaelides seems also to be dipping into the world of Edgar Allan Poe, offering an unreliable narrator who feels more like a literary exercise. As an exploration of genre, it’s really quite fascinating. As a thriller, it’s not particularly surprising.

More style than substance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781250758989

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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