DEAD BY DAWN

A tour de force whose detective chapters pale beside its escape-from-certain-death chapters.

Game warden Mike Bowditch’s 12th adventure sends him hurtling through the Maine woods into the past, just like his first 11.

Imperious Rhodesian-born widow Mariëtte Chamberlain is convinced that the death four years ago of her father-in-law, professor Eben Chamberlain, was murder, not the accident Sgt. Marc Rivard’s investigation pronounced it after Chamberlain’s decomposing corpse was pulled from the Androscoggin River. Now that Rivard has lost his job as a warden, she requests—no, demands—that Bowditch launch his own inquiry. This can’t possibly end well, not only because Bowditch must deal with both the client from hell and a resentful ex-boss he was never close to, but because the opening scene has already made Bowditch the victim of a snowy act of sabotage that sends his Jeep plummeting into the river with him and Shadow, his companion wolf, inside. Shuttling back and forth between this calamity and the steps that led up to it, Doiron shows Bowditch dutifully questioning Arlo Burch, the last person to see Chamberlain alive, and Bruce Jewett, the hunting companion Mariëtte Chamberlain is convinced was the professor’s secret lover and killer, while alternating chapters follow him as he escapes the sinking Jeep, makes his way from the freezing river, and struggles to warm himself before he succumbs to either hypothermia or whomever ran him off the road. Just in case the past doesn’t look menacing enough, Doiron, like a dog who can’t let go of a favored bone, brings back the criminal Dow family as yet another threat.

A tour de force whose detective chapters pale beside its escape-from-certain-death chapters.

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2502-3510-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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DEVOLUTION

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

THE ATLAS MANEUVER

Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side.

Cotton Malone, who just can’t stay retired from international intrigue, joins the mad dance of competitors for a fortune in bitcoin.

So many people have forgotten about the horde of gold the retreating Japanese hid on Luzon Island in the Philippines that it’s not at all clear who has legal title to it. That’s perfect for Robert Citrone, the retired CIA overseer of the Black Eagle Trust, which has used the gold to fund covert operations around the world. Just as Derrick Koger, the European station chief for the CIA, is pulling Malone away from his Copenhagen bookstore to help him investigate possible misdeeds swirling around Luxembourg’s Bank of St. George and its ruthless chief operating officer, Catherine Gledhill, other interested parties turn up in often surprising connections. Freelance assassin Kyra Lhota executes Armenian oligarch Samvel Yerevan and moves on to her next target. Malone’s sometime lover Cassiopeia Vitt is snatched by high-ranking Japanese security chief Aiko Ejima. His former lover Suzy Baldwin resurfaces as Kelly Austin, BSG’s director of special technology, who’s concealing secrets from Malone and the rest of the world. They’re all on the trail of a fabulous cache of bitcoin that in the absence of any legal records of ownership will belong, like the Luzon gold, to anyone who can track it down and grab it. The grandly scaled complications that follow feature countless broken alliances and the deaths of a fearsome number of nonfranchise characters. An extended author’s note explains what’s historically accurate (quite a bit, as it turns out) and what’s fabricated (quite a bit more).

Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9781538721032

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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