An engaging noirish murder tale with a religious twist.




A vigilante rabbi trails a serial killer in this dark crime novel.

Rabbi Eitan stalks the streets of New York, attempting to solve crimes committed against the weakest of the city’s inhabitants. His constituents are “the vanished schoolgirls preyed upon, grabbed, forced, and trafficked courtesy of the new-wave pimps anointed by savagery to become the latest new-fangled kings of the lost girls in the cesspool of the hidden prostitution across America.” Eitan is particularly interested in a series of murders whose victims are found with messages carved in calligraphy on their chests. He suspects the killer is a force of evil straight out of the Scriptures, an international operator of extreme brutality who is attempting to alert someone to his arrival in New York. These murders coincide with the appearance of Solomon Hayman, a mysterious man with a mixed heritage from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle whose desire to kill young women holds a place in his life akin to religion. Possessed of a preternatural self-discipline, Solomon may prove too much for even Eitan, the Shadow Walker, to contend with. Joined in his crusade by his best friend, David, and a team of elite Israeli covert operation agents, Eitan will be forced to the edge of his abilities—and his faith in humanity—to bring this enigmatic Dark Man to God’s justice. Fine’s (Times Square Rabbi, 2012, etc.) prose is dense and lyrical, offering a brutal and yet somehow appealing presentation of an underworld of runaways and the people who prey on them. But the author treats his crime-busting rabbi with a self-seriousness that often strains credulity, and there are certain moments—as when Eitan lists his own nicknames to a corpse, vows to avenge her death, and walks out of the room unironically singing “When the Fallen Angels Fly” by Billy Joe Shaver—that will likely cause readers to roll their eyes. That said, fans of moody crime novels with pathos-addled heroes and villains should enjoy this unusual offering about a rabbi who ministers to the endangered and the dead.

An engaging noirish murder tale with a religious twist.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

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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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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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