A readable, if unoriginal, tale of a troubled man’s homecoming.



A man faces threats old and new after returning to his hometown in the Pacific Northwest in Tevlin’s debut novel.

After 10 years of catching crab in Alaska, Joe Wallace is forced by the death of his estranged father to return to his hometown of Sockeye in Oregon’s Wallowa country. He goes back to help his mother and sister with the family business, a little cabin resort on a lake. Even so, he’s still haunted by the murder of his first love, Jenny Alvord—and his own killing of her murderer, in self-defense, when the man came at him. “Thought I’d left this place for good,” he tells his sister, McKenzie, upon his arrival. “Thought I never wanted to see it again.” Joe soon falls in with a group of outsider environmentalists who want to remove the local dam and return the town’s namesake sockeye salmon back to Wallowa Lake. Joe is particularly interested in Ana, one of their leaders, a descendant of the Nez Perce, the longtime inhabitants of the local land. Some small acts of sabotage have been going on in the country, and people suspect the environmentalists. The locals don’t approve of Ana and Joe being together, and Joe is also on the lookout for the family of the man he killed 10 years ago. As the threats continue to escalate, Joe learns that the home he thought he’d never return to is also one he’ll have to fight to keep. Tevlin’s prose is sharp and evocative, though he is not the most subtle of storytellers. For all his pathos, Joe is a man who wears his motivation on his sleeve: “My whole life I’ve been trying to hide from my old man. I tried hiding from him when I was a kid. And when that didn’t work, I left for the great white north. And here I am back and he’s gone, but he’s not gone.” The lessons about those who respect the land and those who don’t are hardly revolutionary, but despite the clichés, those who love the Pacific Northwest will likely enjoy this affectionate tribute to the landscape and its changing face.

A readable, if unoriginal, tale of a troubled man’s homecoming.

Pub Date: March 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68433-465-0

Page Count: 273

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


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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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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