High-quality crime fiction with the protagonists brought together by a dog­­­.

LONE JACK TRAIL

Second in a series set in Deception Cove, Washington, featuring two damaged people and the dog they love.

Mason Burke, who's living in Deception Cove after having served 15 years for murder in Michigan, is pummeled by local celebrity Brock "Bad" Boyd, who doesn't like his attitude. A few days later, Boyd’s crab-chomped corpse washes ashore at Shipwreck Point with a bullet in the head. Too bad, because the former hockey star had been one of the town’s only sources of pride, never mind that he’d gone into the dogfighting business. It’s a small, down-on-its-luck town where rumors “traveled in whispers, blooming as fast as moss in the rainforest,” so police receive an anonymous tip that the doer is the nearly friendless Burke. “Somebody’s got to hang for this murder,” says one bad guy to another. And what better fall guy than an outsider with a known prison record? Then a witness comes forward to accuse Burke, who later finds the woman with her throat slashed. Burke is a suspect, but the sheriff won’t arrest him without hard evidence. Burke is romantically involved with local cop Jess Winslow, brought together by Lucy, a gentle pit bull mix that had been rescued from a dogfighting ring. Burke had worked with the dog as part of an experimental program that earned him early release from prison, and Winslow is a traumatized Marine combat veteran who later received Lucy as a companion animal. She’s a tough, upright cop, and he tries hard to avoid violence. At one point, Jess seems to face a stark choice: Your career, or the man you love. All three, Lucy included, face mortal danger. They complement each other perfectly: the veteran’s toughness, the ex-con’s humanity, and the dog’s unconditional adoration of both. All of Canadian author Laukkanen’s crime novels have tense action and layered characters—except in this case, Lucy isn’t that complex.

High-quality crime fiction with the protagonists brought together by a dog­­­.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-44875-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 70

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • 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

Did you like this book?

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more