A bracing combination of bureaucracy bashing and mystical mystery.

MEMORIES: FORGOTTEN BUT NOT GONE

A MYSTICAL THRILLER

A system meant to help two young, orphaned brothers fails them in this paranormal thriller by the author of In Strictest Confidence (2017).

In 1968, fraternal twins Wayne and Mateo McBride become orphans at age 7 when their drug addict father, just out of prison, shoots and kills their addict mother. The authorities send the boys to the Bronx Children’s Shelter, their first stop in New York’s social services bureaucracy. Wayne is an angry tough guy while Mateo is a sensitive “wimp” (though he has a protector in his alter, Mark, an alternate self who comes out whenever Mateo feels threatened). Over the next few weeks, they meet the people with who will affect their fates. These include Jimmy Lee, a fledgling child welfare worker; Dr. Antonio Perez, an overworked child psychiatrist; and Bill Hael, at first a guard at the shelter and later a homicide detective. Perez makes the fateful decision to separate the twins. Wayne gets placed with a foster mother who is secretly a drug addict, and he later becomes a drug lord after spending time in a boys’ detention center. A loving couple takes in Mateo, and he flourishes, becoming a tennis star, a pharmaceutical executive, and a politician. But detective Hael is haunted by dreams he can’t explain, and just when readers think they know where the book is going, it takes a sharp turn. A psychologist and Bronx native, Canzoniero has counseled abused children, teenage drug addicts, and adult alcoholics, and his familiarity with the underfunded world of social services—and its heartbreaking mistakes—is apparent. Wayne and Mateo needed everything to go right if they were to become productive members of society, and things go wrong for them from the start as Canzoniero takes what could have been just a screed about bureaucratic bungling and gives it a twist, resulting in a lively paranormal thriller. Like all good thrillers, this one keeps readers guessing.

A bracing combination of bureaucracy bashing and mystical mystery.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 379

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2020

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

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THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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