King’s latest novel proves he still adores the Travelers, and so will longtime fans.

THICKER THAN THIEVES

From the Travelers series , Vol. 8

This eighth volume of the Travelers series sees the con artist couple attempting to score diamonds while avoiding a showdown between White nationalists and the FBI.

Danny and Genie Briggs are enjoying a retreat in the Florida Keys; at least, those are the grifters’ current names as they prepare a fresh heist. Through a connection, they learn that the Orange Hill Cartel ships $10 million in diamonds twice a year, smuggling them out of Mumbai via stateside Hashemi Wholesale Carpets & Arts. The second-generation Indian American Hashemi siblings—married Zander and recently widowed Nadia—only dabble in crime, but they’re the perfect targets for the Travelers’ unique brand of subterfuge and seduction. Meanwhile, in Summerville, Iowa, White nationalists of the Fatherland Volk ready the deadly next step in their plot to eliminate foreign elements from the United States. Specifically, members Bruce MacBurn, Ray Johnston, and Joe Lang plan to acquire uranium and bomb several buildings, including the Denver Mint and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Joe, however, is actually a mole for the FBI’s Counterterrorism Task Force. As he allows the White nationalists to proceed with their plan—and potentially set themselves up for arrest on more severe charges—the Hashemis get tangled up in the scheme and realize they can no longer afford to be amateurs in the smuggling game. King’s fans will relish this smoothly set up con that, like others in the series, has just enough complexity to allow unexpected chaos to occur. His nuanced antiheroes steal the show, as when Danny, in conversation with Genie, expresses his chances of seducing Nadia with the chillingly confident line, “We’re already in love.” The Fatherland Volk members, meanwhile, despicably use racist epithets and discuss blaming their terrorism on Middle Eastern agents. Nadia’s sentimental characterization will keep readers distressed over her fate (“There was nothing wrong with wanting to be touched, wanting to feel that wild happiness, if only for a few moments”). This entry’s mellow finale, memorable cast, and emotional weight may have readers hoping for a direct sequel. That said, the author rarely offers readers what they expect.

King’s latest novel proves he still adores the Travelers, and so will longtime fans.

Pub Date: May 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-952711-00-8

Page Count: 217

Publisher: Blurred Lines Press

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Not for the squeamish but a jolt for thriller junkies.

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The 10th installment in the Gray Man series begins with a dent in the hero’s armor and revs up with nonstop action.

Court Gentry, aka the Gray Man, is recovering from a stab wound, and he really needs to get some rest. He’s tired and badly weakened, not yet fit for operational duty, but the CIA’s off-the-books contract killer is “wholly unaccustomed to free time.” Soon he’s in Caracas, trying to spring his comrade in arms Zack Hightower from a Venezuelan prison. Then he’s off to Germany to deal with a possible coordinated attack on Americans in Berlin. Gentry, whose CIA code name is Violator, is that rare killer with a heart, so he takes only “righteous and worthy” assignments and does them right. His CIA boss congratulates him on one assassination, saying “You put a warhead on his forehead.” Gentry’s in love with Zoya Zakharova, a field operative also working for the CIA, but gunning down bad guys keeps both too busy for a meaningful relationship. Meanwhile, a sultan in the United Arab Emirates can hardly wait for his father to die of cancer, and an Iranian Quds sleeper agent plots mayhem in Berlin. Evildoers abound in this bloody thriller, including Americans. But the star of the scum is Maksim Akulov, who works for the Russian Mafia and whose target is Zakharova. Think of Akulov as the Gray Man without the moral compass. The title aptly fits the plot, as the hero scarcely takes a breather. There’s enough bloodshed to pour into two thrillers, and author Greaney doesn’t spare the good guys. Gentry’s body is “racked with pain and exhaustion” much of the time, but he is relentless. And Zack gets more than scratched while he thinks that “fighting a robot attack would be one badass way to go.”

Not for the squeamish but a jolt for thriller junkies.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-09895-0

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

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A legendary spy takes a vacation—or tries to, anyway—in Silva’s 20th Gabriel Allon novel.

Gabriel is trying to enjoy some rest and relaxation with his family in Venice when he learns that an old friend has died. As it happens, this old friend was Pope Paul VII, and it’s not long before Allon is summoned by the pontiff’s personal secretary. Archbishop Luigi Donati has reason to believe that the Holy Father did not die a natural death. For each of the past several summers, Silva has delivered a thriller that seems to be ripped from the headlines. This latest book feels, at first, like something of a throwback. Palace intrigue at the Vatican might seem quaint compared to Islamist extremism or Russia’s rise as an international influence, but Silva makes it relevant and compelling. Allon discovers that the most likely culprits in the death of the pope are connected to far-right leaders throughout Europe, and the rediscovery of a lost Gospel sheds new light on Christian anti-Semitism. The villains here are Catholic traditionalists—Silva’s imaginary Paul VII looks a lot like the real-life Francis I—and “populist” politicians who appeal to nativist, anti-globalist sympathies. As Silva looks at European contempt for a new wave of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, he finds a model for this xenophobia in ancient hatred of the Jewish people, an antipathy that has its roots in the New Testament. He interjects a few Bible studies lessons and offers a bit of history as background; these passages add depth without impeding the forward momentum of the plot. Readers familiar with this series may notice the evolution of a motif introduced a few novels ago: In the world of Gabriel Allon, the United States has receded from relevance on the world stage.

Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-283484-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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