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RECKLESS GIRLS

A soapy, claustrophobic page-turner.

Beautiful, rudderless 20-somethings find trouble in paradise.

San Diego waitress Lux McAllister has led a joyless existence since quitting college to care for her dying mother, so when hunky customer Nico Johannsen invites her to sail the seas with him aboard his new boat, the Susannah, she accepts. They arrange to rendezvous in Hawaii after Lux ties up some loose ends, but when she gets off the plane, she learns the vessel sustained damage en route. Nico can’t afford the repairs, so rather than living aboard the Susannah as planned, the pair starts crashing in a cramped house with four other people while Lux cleans hotel rooms to make ends meet. When adventure-seekers Brittany and Amma, both 22, offer Nico $50,000 to rent a boat and take them to Meroe Island—an uninhabited Pacific atoll with a gruesome history—Lux extends a counteroffer: pay to fix the Susannah, and the four of them will spend two carefree weeks exploring the place together. Though the voyage proves harrowing, Meroe is stunning, and they bond instantly with wealthy, hedonistic fellow travelers Jake and Eliza, whose catamaran is in the harbor when they arrive. As the days stretch on, however, tension mounts, and the group’s idyllic existence takes a dark turn. Evocative prose and a palpably foreboding atmosphere complement Lux’s present-tense narration, which Hawkins studs with flashbacks exposing the secrets, lies, and betrayals that brought each character to this point. Danger and interpersonal drama abound, with a slew of outrageous twists adding to the fun.

A soapy, claustrophobic page-turner.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7425-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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DEVOLUTION

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

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  • 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

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK

A grim theme with a compelling and complex plot.

A one-eyed boy becomes a monster’s prey in this chilling tale of missing children.

Thirteen-year-old Missouri boy Joseph “Patch” Macauley was born with one eye, so he wears an eye patch and imagines himself a pirate. In 1975, he sees a masked man assaulting a girl in the woods. He attacks the man and saves her, but the predator kidnaps him instead. Patch eventually wakes in total darkness in a cellar where a different girl secretly visits him, heard but always unseen. He learns that her name is Grace and that there have been other girls down there before. Grace paints vivid word pictures of the places she’s seen and of stories by authors like Steinbeck. “Pray and stay alive,” she whispers to Patch. Eventually he escapes, but she is nowhere to be found. Searching for Grace is the underlying thread in a complicated quest that takes unexpected turns over the years and might well bring heartbreak. Meanwhile, the bodies of three girls turn up locally, and their parents grieve. Is the town doctor responsible for their deaths? A local school photographer? Both? Patch paints an image of Grace based only on what he’d heard from her in the cellar; then come more paintings and displays in an art gallery—an implausible achievement for an untrained artist. Meanwhile, Grace may be anywhere, and he must find her whether alive or dead. By now an adult, he “pinball[s]” from state to state, meeting with “a dozen families looking for a dozen lost girls.” To sustain himself he robs banks with an unloaded flintlock, and he shares his loot with organizations that are looking for missing children. He has “reasoned the truest proof of life [is] pain,” and he vows that he will die before he quits his search. This is much more than a whodunit, though it fills that bill well. It is also a richly layered tale of love, loss, and hope.

A grim theme with a compelling and complex plot.

Pub Date: June 25, 2024

ISBN: 9780593798874

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2024

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