A moving—sometimes too quickly—story about personal relationships, politics and the meaning we derive from both.


A bored, middle-aged, British coach driver finds an affair, adventure and intrigue in Ireland.

After his father’s passing in World War II, Peter and his mum move to Ireland to begin a new life; however, just as he’s becoming adjusted, he’s shipped back to England for employment. From there, Peter finds new work on a lathe, meets a woman, gets her pregnant, marries her, settles into the bus-driving business, gets deadly bored with his wife and local life, heads up a coach service between England and Ireland and starts an affair with a young hotel hostess in Limerick—all within but a few pages. The breezy first-person narration of Peter’s life helps get readers quickly into the atmosphere of the story, but often builds psychological firewalls between Peter’s actions and his conscience. For a first-person narration, Peter is rarely caught dwelling on the absurdity of some of his flaws and the admirability of many of his strengths. It’s revealed to be quite possible that Peter is being manipulated by his acquaintance Patrick into carrying illicit materials sent to England care of the Irish Republican Army. But Peter, apparently in a fog because of his affair with the young, married Mary (they often make love only a few rooms away from her drunken husband), seems slow to put the pieces together or to seriously question the terrors in which he may well be intimately involved. Nonetheless, Peter, with his pluck, wit and basic tendency toward goodness, eventually develops, as does the narrative and its mysteries. Indeed, much of the political intrigue, striking the familiar themes associated with Ireland’s troubles (e.g. religion, family, fierce blood loyalties), is veiled allegory for navigating through the treacherous personal territories of marriage, fidelity, friendship and career. The novel is typeset in something like Comic Sans, which is an unfortunate distraction because, as the novel develops and Peter finally learns who his real friends and loves are, Lewis crafts heartrendingly moving, authentic lessons to be taken seriously from Peter’s exciting—but not always sensible—sympathetic life.

A moving—sometimes too quickly—story about personal relationships, politics and the meaning we derive from both.

Pub Date: April 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456774431

Page Count: 251

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 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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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


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

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