A strong addition to the Banks series that suggests tantalizing possibilities for the next installment.

NOT DARK YET

Investigating the murder of a mob-tied developer and the possibly related rape of a young woman, DCI Alan Banks finds himself in the crosshairs of the Albanian Mafia.

At the center of the investigation is Zelda, a sex trade survivor on whom Yorkshire's Banks developed a major crush in Many Rivers To Cross (2019)—an attraction he can't act on since she's the romantic partner of one of his best friends. Abducted at 17 from an orphanage in Moldova and horrifically abused for years, she has been using her skills as a super recognizer to help Britain's National Crime Agency track sex traffickers. But a cloud of suspicion hangs over Zelda—real name Nelia Melnic—following the unsolved murder of a Croatian trafficker who violated her and her possible involvement in another killing. While Banks looks into the murder of the developer, his female colleagues DI Annie Cabbot and DC Gerry Masterson  trace the history of the rape victim until the dots between the two criminal cases connect. The plot, which also features a Banks nemesis from the past, may be one of Robinson's knottiest. Full pages are devoted to the volleying of questions about possible motives and methods and what led to a suicide. But Robinson pulls the reader in with deft characterizations, powerfully understated action scenes, and strong locales—while leaving space for this amateur musicologist's usual legion of song and album references. The title of the book is taken from a Bob Dylan song included on the mortality-obsessed album Time Out of Mind. For Robinson, it would seem, things can never get dark enough.

A strong addition to the Banks series that suggests tantalizing possibilities for the next installment.

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-299495-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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
  • 12

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?

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

OCEAN PREY

No oceans in Minnesota, you say? That won’t stop Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, who are clearly determined to burn through their bucket list on the federal government’s dime.

The murders of three Coast Guard officers chasing a suspicious boat in Florida waters by crooks who set fire to the boat moments after abandoning it send shock waves through the DEA, the FBI, and eventually the U.S. Marshals Service. In short order Lucas and his colleague and pal Bob Matees find themselves on a task force Florida Sen. Christopher Colles convenes to find the drugs the fugitives managed to dump into the Atlantic before they shot their pursuers and arrest everyone in sight. The duo’s modus operandi seems to be to talk to everyone who’s seen anything, and then talk to everyone they’ve mentioned, and so on, taking regular breaks to drink, reminisce, and swap wisecracks. Everything is so relaxed and routine that fans of this long-running series will just know that Sandford has something more up his sleeve, and he does. Eventually the task force’s net widens to make room for Virgil, who, working with Marshal Rae Givens, hires himself out to the criminals as a diver who can retrieve those drugs while Lucas and his allies work their way higher and higher up the food chain of baddies. The cast is enormous and mostly forgettable, but Sandford manages to work up a full head of steam when Lucas realizes that his scorched-earth tactics have put Virgil and Rae in serious danger.

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-08702-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more