An intense novel that expertly weaves varying perspectives of a singular, life-changing event.


In Alexander’s (North of Here, 2012, etc.) gritty drama, a gunman’s standoff against police constables in a Canadian community has repercussions on numerous lives.

Patrolling the Peacefield area, constables Grant Ambler and Arnold Strauss respond to a call of a possible domestic dispute at an apartment complex. What they find when they get there, however, is an armed man, who shoots Grant while Arnold takes cover with Daniel, a young boy who lives at the complex. The man, whom Daniel calls the General, holds the boy’s mother, Lauren, hostage in his apartment; he also seems to have a limitless arsenal, repeatedly firing out his window and pinning Arnold behind a dumpster. Meanwhile, Grant’s father, Walter, and Arnold’s pregnant wife, Joanne, anxiously watch news coverage of the shooting as Grant, lying on the ground and possibly dying, envisions himself walking in the snow with an enigmatic figure named Mike, unsure of whether or not he’s in the afterlife. The author’s novel deceptively begins like a police procedural; Grant’s little brother, Ronnie, disappeared 10 years ago, the only significant evidence a report of a black car, and Arnold doesn’t seem to like a fellow constable because of the man’s presence during an incident initially referred to as “that night.” Though these two mysteries are ultimately resolved, the plot’s true focus is the General’s bullet-laden rampage, aptly revealing the ways in which it affects the people involved as well as their loved ones. Alexander relays the story through different points of view, from Lauren, who’s stuck with the General and doesn’t know if her son is safe, to Walter, who spends time with his adolescent neighbor Gavin (who supplies the older man with booze and weed) and learns about the shooting on TV. The characters are resoundingly developed and multidimensional. The General, for example, isn’t merely the crazed antagonist; he’s given a thorough, tragic back story as he speaks to Lauren. And Alexander doesn’t provide easy answers, particularly with regard to Grant, whose metaphysical state (he’s following Mike but is actually still wounded at the scene) is deliberately equivocal; Mike may be an angel, a ghost or simply a person who’s cropped up in Grant’s dream. There’s adequate resolution for every character before the story is over, but a few of the answers are left open for interpretation.

An intense novel that expertly weaves varying perspectives of a singular, life-changing event.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1926942735

Page Count: 179

Publisher: Now or Never Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2014

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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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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...


Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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