A solid thriller set amid riveting historical events in the seedy underbelly of a city—and a world—slowly going mad.

THE SLEEPWALKERS

In Grossman’s debut novel, a Jewish cop in 1932 Berlin hunts the perpetrators of a grotesque crime, against a backdrop of political turmoil.

Willi Kraus, the cop famous for catching the infamous Kinderfresser child murderer some years back, is called to a riverside crime scene on the outskirts of Berlin. The body of a young woman has washed up, and she’s been mutilated—someone has expertly grafted the bones in her calves on backwards. But before the investigation into this bizarre crime can begin, Willi receives another assignment, this time from President Hindenburg. A Bulgarian princess has gone missing while visiting Berlin, "sleepwalking" (in the words of the doorman at her hotel) into the night, and Willi is to drop everything and find her. Willi decides it’s too much of a coincidence that the somnambulant princess went to see the Great Gustave’s hypnotism act at a nightclub the evening she disappeared. When Gustave’s name comes up in the case of the dead girl, and after Willi and his loyal assistant find evidence of dozens of girls sleepwalking away into the ether in recently years, Willi is convinced that Gustave is hypnotizing girls with great legs, and sending them off into the hands of some evil master orthopedic surgeon. Meanwhile, Willi has become entangled with a prostitute named Putzi, the dead girl’s roommate. In order to help avenge her friend’s death, Putzi comes up with a scheme that involves her being hypnotized by Gustave, while Willi and his gadfly journalist friend Fritz follow along. It seems foolproof. But in Berlin in 1932, nothing is certain. Stripped of its setting, this book is a fairly straightforward thriller, but surrounded by the dramatic events of the Nazi rise to power, it takes on added heft and a relentless drive.

A solid thriller set amid riveting historical events in the seedy underbelly of a city—and a world—slowly going mad.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-60190-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Coben dispenses crucial plot twists with an eyedropper, expertly wringing the maximum suspense out of each jaw-dropping...

GONE FOR GOOD

A betwixt-and-between thriller from the talented chronicler of sports agent Myron Bolitar (Darkest Fear, 2000, etc.).

Eleven years after his brother Ken vanished after being accused of raping and strangling neighborhood girl Julie Miller, Will Klein’s dying mother tells him that Ken’s still alive. Then, several hours after her funeral, Will suffers an even more devastating loss when his lover Sheila Rogers, a volunteer at Covenant House, the New York shelter for street kids Will runs, disappears as well. And there’s even worse news: Joseph Pistillo, the FBI’s top man in New York, is not only still looking for Ken, whom he turns out to have a damningly personal reason for wanting to find; he suspects Sheila, who never told Will anything about her turbulent past except that she’d run away from home, was up to no good as well. With the help of Julie’s kid sister Katy and his omnicompetent sidekick Squares, an ex-Nazi turned franchise fitness guru, Will goes in search of the truth about Ken and Sheila, ignoring Pistillo’s threats of legal action and the even more dire threats of Ken’s murderously well-connected school buddies John Asselta, the Ghost (ex-wrestler), and Philip McGuane (ex–student council president) in an attempt to stand on his own two feet after years of hiding behind his big brother’s strength. Will’s newfound courage comes too late to help Sheila, who’s already been killed and dumped at the side of a Nebraska road. But will it save Ken, or Katy, or Will himself?

Coben dispenses crucial plot twists with an eyedropper, expertly wringing the maximum suspense out of each jaw-dropping surprise. After a while, though, the high-energy revelations begin to sprawl, and this synthetic, highly enjoyable tale ends up stuck between grim realism and the sort of wish-fulfillment fantasy in which nobody, not even the dead, is ever gone for good.

Pub Date: April 30, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-33558-X

Page Count: 342

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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