Fans of gritty crime fiction should find a few new twists here to enjoy.

REVOKED

A debut novel focuses on a complex murder investigation in Canada.

Pachan’s story starts with a bit of a cliché—Cam Clay, a seasoned police officer in Calgary with some trouble in his recent past, is breaking in a new partner, Mitch Raines. Unfortunately for both of them, their first case together is a brutal double murder. A mother, Susan Sinclair, has had her head bashed in and been stabbed multiple times while her 3-year-old son, Joey, has had his throat cut. The immediate suspect is Danny McKenzie, Sinclair’s brother, who was on the scene when the homicides happened. But then evidence starts to point to Sam Jensen, a convicted child molester who lives two doors down from the victims. Even with two obvious suspects, the case keeps getting harder. Sinclair’s husband, Bruno, in jail for abusing her, is about to get released. And the vicious murders keep coming—each of them following a pattern. Meanwhile, Clay is dealing with having killed a suspect for the first time in his career during a crack-den raid. And then there’s his rocky relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Maddie Watson, a reporter who betrayed his confidence to break a story about a high-profile case. Pachan has populated his gory tale with believable characters: old hand and family friend Jack Sanderson; Inspector Zac Warren, who handles the media; Inspector Hiroki Sanchez, who conducts forensics work; and more. Credit the author’s 30-plus years of experience in Canadian law enforcement with the realism he brings to his novel. Still, there are a lot of cop-story clichés sprinkled into the narrative. Clay is mandated to see a psychologist after the shooting, and often feels his age as the case presses on, especially when he looks at his new, somewhat green partner. But the main tale is compelling and complicated, and the resolution will be tough for mystery lovers to guess. In addition, setting the book in Calgary gives it a unique feel.

Fans of gritty crime fiction should find a few new twists here to enjoy.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 251

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2018

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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