Comes up a little short on certain genre elements, but the pace and ambience are rock-solid.


In the distant future, a pair of skilled individuals seek a man harboring incriminating info on powerful men.

In Chauncey’s (The Hidden Society, 2017, etc.) sci-fi tale, set in the 31st century, Lyle Morton’s been working at the Department of Information for over 20 years. But Lyle isn’t his real name. After stumbling across dangerous information in the Hong Kong office, he faked his death to protect his family. Resurfacing and getting a job at the headquarters in Crown City, the capital (near Denver) of the United World Government, Lyle slowly and furtively compiled the classified info. Saved on a glass crystal, the particulars are damning to men in power known as the five, who’ve committed atrocities to maintain their positions in the United World. Aware of what someone’s stolen, the five, led by Paul Simpson, enlist two former employees to get it back: tracker/hunter Lee Adams and hacker Evelyn Summers. But their search is monitored by the five’s minions, who’ll most likely kill them once they find Lyle. But Lee and Evelyn hope to team up with Lyle and use the information against the five. Chauncey’s futuristic backdrop smartly feeds into fears of today—a lack of privacy; Lee and Evelyn go to great lengths to disable various tracking chips or devices. And though the five’s evil plot isn’t hard to figure out, especially with an early hint, the inevitable reveal makes the baddies suitably methodical. Some tech and corresponding jargon, however, is off. Com-cells (computer-cells) don’t differ much from smartphones, and characters use “download” for any information transfer, including uploads. Regardless, there’s plenty of action (someone’s pursuing someone else for much of the narrative), while possible dissension among the five only adds to the overall unease.

Comes up a little short on certain genre elements, but the pace and ambience are rock-solid.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5043-6976-3

Page Count: 626

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

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
  • 84

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.


A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?