Interesting people doing terrible things that are never remotely believable.

THE WATCHER GIRL

A woman who has returned to the childhood home she hates determined to set an old sin straight finds things working out rather differently.

Grace McMullen certainly had her reasons for leaving Monarch Falls behind. Her adoptive mother, Daphne, had been convicted of killing her adoptive father’s latest mistress, Marnie Gotlieb, and the scandal was spread from coast to coast by journalist Dianna Hilliard’s bestselling Domestic Illusions: The Daphne McMullen Story, which sanctified Daphne and crucified Graham McMullen. Never having felt related to a single person, not even Daphne and Graham’s daughter, Rose, Grace headed for the West Coast and became an internet sanitizer who makes a good living by hunting down and deleting compromising online material on her clients. Now she’s come back to Monarch Falls, turning up without warning on the doorstep of Graham and his current wife, life coach Bliss Diamond, to apologize to Sutton Whitlock for running out on him eight years ago—not because she didn’t love him, but because she was totally wrong for him. By the time she gets her first glimpse of her old beau, however, her mission has already changed: to rescue Sutton’s perfect wife, Campbell, from what’s clearly an abusive marriage Grace can’t help feeling responsible for. Kent piles on enough domestic complications to make you avoid your own next family reunion before she brings down the curtain with a thud.

Interesting people doing terrible things that are never remotely believable.

Pub Date: May 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2678-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

OCEAN PREY

No oceans in Minnesota, you say? That won’t stop Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, who are clearly determined to burn through their bucket list on the federal government’s dime.

The murders of three Coast Guard officers chasing a suspicious boat in Florida waters by crooks who set fire to the boat moments after abandoning it send shock waves through the DEA, the FBI, and eventually the U.S. Marshals Service. In short order Lucas and his colleague and pal Bob Matees find themselves on a task force Florida Sen. Christopher Colles convenes to find the drugs the fugitives managed to dump into the Atlantic before they shot their pursuers and arrest everyone in sight. The duo’s modus operandi seems to be to talk to everyone who’s seen anything, and then talk to everyone they’ve mentioned, and so on, taking regular breaks to drink, reminisce, and swap wisecracks. Everything is so relaxed and routine that fans of this long-running series will just know that Sandford has something more up his sleeve, and he does. Eventually the task force’s net widens to make room for Virgil, who, working with Marshal Rae Givens, hires himself out to the criminals as a diver who can retrieve those drugs while Lucas and his allies work their way higher and higher up the food chain of baddies. The cast is enormous and mostly forgettable, but Sandford manages to work up a full head of steam when Lucas realizes that his scorched-earth tactics have put Virgil and Rae in serious danger.

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-08702-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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