Takes the reader on a gripping journey filled with unexpected twists and turns; a fun, smart read.


Rathod and Kerr’s novel is a fantastical coming-of-age story about a 16-year-old named Howard.

When Howard learns that he has magical abilities—and Rathod and Kerr portray his exploration of his newfound power in very real terms—his life changes. Growing up in an orphanage, the Boy’s Home, Howard knows little of his family background and lineage. The day he discovers his supernatural talents, he accidentally performs a healing spell on an injured child at the Home.  The discoveries only get more complex and unique when Howard meets the beautiful and exotic Elisa at the mall. After an encounter in the parking lot with a group of men dressed in black, driving black SUVs and shooting bullets that mysteriously disappear, Howard and Elisa are thrown together in an effort to save their lives. Once it’s been established that the two hail from the same magical realm, they set off on a quest that begins with questions (“Well, what do we do now?”), evolves into confessions (“You want to know the truth?  Here it is. I’m a Venefican and I’ve been a magic user my whole life.”) and is finally ignited when the two (along with Elisa’s boyfriend, Jack) begin their search for the Verity Fire. However, the Verity Fire, which Elisa understands will help them prove their worth and save them from becoming prey or victim to the men who tried to chase them down in the mall parking lot, is not easily accessible. First, they don’t know where the fire is located. Second, it is a highly protected source of information. And finally, Howard and Elisa are busy avoiding the men from the mall.  It turns out that those men are the Ferreters who, Elisa tells Howard, are determined to destroy the Venefican community because of century-old conflicts that go from the Ancient Egyptians to World War II. Rathod and Kerr have created a believable and compelling character with Howard, our narrator, and Elisa. Howard is sympathetic, authentic and filled with a confusion and awe for this new surreal dimension. The truth about the Ferreters and the Verity Fire is, it turns out, far more complicated than Howard or Elisa could have expected—and this is at the heart of both the story’s journey and its end. The novel uses the discovery of inner power as a tidy metaphor for growing up, while telling an intricately plotted sci-fi tale.

Takes the reader on a gripping journey filled with unexpected twists and turns; a fun, smart read.

Pub Date: April 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1461001133

Page Count: 320

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

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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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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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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.


Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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