Readers will gladly lose themselves in this novel’s sense of foreboding.



An obsessed detective seeks revenge upon three men for his brother’s drowning death in Cioffari’s (Dark Road, Dead End, 2016, etc.) thriller.

Danny Baker, Charlie Romano, Johnny Whalen, and Tim Mooney once called themselves “the Renegades.” Five years ago, they all tried to swim across a channel called the Bronx Kill, along with Julianne Regan, whose attention Danny and Charlie were vying for. But the current was too strong, and only three people stepped out of the water; police fished out Tim’s body the following day, but never found Julianne’s. Still, the remaining trio’s reunion in the present-day Bronx should have been a happy one; Johnny, who left the seminary, is marrying his longtime girlfriend, Lorraine. Unfortunately, Tim’s detective brother, Tommy Mooney, is making them all anxious, as he relentlessly questions them about the fateful night years before. Tommy is positive that at least one Renegade is somehow responsible for his brother’s demise, and he further proposes that Julianne’s body wasn’t recovered because she made it across the channel alive. One thing is unmistakable: Tommy wants to mete out some kind of punishment. But after Charlie is attacked in what initially seems to be a gang initiation, he, Danny, and Johnny guess that Tommy was actually behind it. Eventually, they must all confront a bleak memory. Cioffari incorporates a sturdy mystery into his story—what exactly transpired at the Kill isn’t revealed at the outset—but it’s the brooding atmosphere that truly packs a punch. The author fills the pages with recurring images that act as reminders of impending menace: Tommy’s Mercury Marquis (ominously identified as “the black Merc”); the aforementioned Kill; and Charlie’s bar, the MoonGlow, which alludes to the Mooneys and particularly Tim’s nickname, “the Moon.” There are countless unnerving moments, such as when Johnny swears that he’s seen his dead friend in the flesh, or when Tommy claims that he has a witness to the alleged crime. Still, Cioffari allows ample room to flesh out his characters, particularly Danny, who shares a few sublime, emotional scenes with his widower father.

Readers will gladly lose themselves in this novel’s sense of foreboding.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Livingston Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2016

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


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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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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