An entertaining and layered psychological thriller.

HOW TO SPOT A PSYCHOPATH

THEY ACCUSED HER OF MURDER... WHY WON'T SHE TELL THEM WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? (DR. OSCAR DE LA NUIT)

In this novel, a psychiatrist steps in when a young girl vanishes and the prime suspect refuses to talk.

Four-year-old Mia Edwards disappeared during a play date at her friend Zoe’s house. Suspicion falls on Zoe’s mother, Jessica Green, given her history of anxiety and a police report following an attack on her own husband, Clay. A media frenzy and Mia’s single mother, Holly, who points her finger at Jessica, turn the case into a circus. Weeks later, placed on remand, Jessica is still not talking about what happened, and fears grow that Mia may be dead. Forensic psychiatrist Oscar de la Nuit closely follows the case and takes a gamble on trying to help Jessica by getting her transferred to where he works, Whitner Psychiatric Hospital, so he can oversee her case. Oscar believes they have some things in common and that he will be able to get her to open up about what really happened. Is she protecting someone? Does she know where Mia is? But the more the two spend time together, the more questions are raised about Oscar’s impartiality and Jessica’s guilt. Webb’s series opener is a self-contained, slow-paced, and intriguing take on psychopathy and the things people will do to protect those they care about. The narrative deftly builds up momentum to the climactic clash of two timelines, which alternate between Oscar’s present and Jessica’s past. The former focuses on Jessica’s treatment, Oscar’s determination to see the matter through, and his angst over the heartbreaking secret he is keeping about his past and the death of his beloved son, Riley. The latter follows Jessica and her budding relationship with newcomers Holly and Mia as the two become a large part of her life as well as her work as a freelance journalist writing an article on how to spot a psychopath. Just why Jessica is tackling that story fuels most of the whodunit, which, despite a lull in the middle and some repetition, will keep readers guessing to the end.

An entertaining and layered psychological thriller. (Thriller. 18-adult.)

Pub Date: April 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-645-35201-6

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2022

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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