A mildly gripping mix of villains and do-gooders headlined by a seasoned, likable detective who intends to save the day.

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Irish Guilt

A complex thriller involves a kidnapping, vicious murders, and a dedicated team of sleuths.      

This debut novel is set in fictional Springtown, where beautiful, statuesque Diane Oliveres has just begun her well-deserved, yearly two-week vacation in the quietude afforded by the rural hamlet. But her cheating husband, Dan, is already busy hooking up with another woman, and a maniacal killer moves in to murder him and his mistress. The culprit, now with two fresh bodies, meticulously stores them deep in the woods hoping for a ransom opportunity. But before he exposes the bodies to the public, the perpetrator needs to find and kidnap Diane for the whole plan to succeed. Like clockwork, Diane inexplicably disappears, and her brother, Brooklyn Police Detective Patrick Malley, is hot on the scene, carefully retracing his sister’s last steps. Alert and anxious, Malley pieces together clues and follows leads to uncover Diane and her husband’s former whereabouts, though he shows much less concern for the womanizing Dan. But a recent crime spree through Springtown, a collection of stolen cars parked deep in the woods, and a violent attack on Malley complicate matters. The bustling plot really begins to gain momentum once the author, who’s also a playwright and singer, establishes a firm grip on the characters anchoring the mystery. Besides expert police investigators Malley and Ben Stone, Nicholas “Papa” Malone, the chief medical examiner for the township’s highly regarded crime lab, appears on the scene, ably assisting the detectives. As the villains up the stakes and release the bodies of Dan and his mistress, their increasing violence puts Malley in grave danger as the number of victims multiplies and the crimes garner widespread FBI attention. Linkletter even makes enough room in his busy plot for Malley and Malone to consummate a passionate love affair. While a good amount of suspense and intrigue permeates the antics, the novel is in dire need of character development and an organization of events and plotlines. But even if one character name gets sloppily interchanged (“Mally” instead of “Malley”), suspense fans should find that this convoluted tale delivers just enough dastardly crimes to keep the pages turning.  

A mildly gripping mix of villains and do-gooders headlined by a seasoned, likable detective who intends to save the day.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2016

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

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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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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