Readers disappointed in the present-day subplots, which are wound up with remarkable dispatch, will be rewarded by the even...

RUPTURE

Jónasson returns from his recent Icelandic stand-alone (The Darkness, 2018) to an equally bleak puzzle for Ari Thór Arason, of the Siglufjördur police.

Just in case the northern Icelandic town isn’t isolated enough by geography and climate, Siglufjördur has been under quarantine ever since a wealthy traveler arrived with a particularly virulent strain of haemorrhagic fever. It seems only appropriate that at a time when Ari Thór’s department (Nightblind, 2017, etc.) is in virtual lockdown, a man named Hédinn pressed him to reopen the ice-cold case of Jórunn, Hédinn’s aunt, who got a fatal dose of rat poison more than 50 years ago in nearby Hédinsfjödur. Nearby, but even more isolated, the place, devoid of electrical and telephone wires, has been uninhabited ever since Hédinn’s father, Gudmundur, retired from the fishing industry to settle his wife, Gudfinna, her sister, Jórunn, and Jórunn’s husband, Maríus Knutsson, in the godforsaken spot. Ari Thór’s attention immediately focuses on a family photograph from 1957 that includes a young man Hédinn can’t identify. But his exploration of the past is sidelined by the hit-and-run death of Snorri Ellertsson, an aspiring musician whose scandalous abuse of alcohol and drugs ended the career of his father, prominent politician Ellert Snorrason, and the kidnapping of Kjartan, a little boy taken from his pram while it was parked outside a cafe in which his mother, Sunna, was having coffee with her sister, trusting in Iceland’s low incidence of crime outside the pages of genre fiction. Along the way, Ari Thór’s inquiries will repeatedly crisscross those of Ísrún, an ambitious TV reporter whose initial assignment to report on the quarantine blossoms into a series of revelations much darker and deadlier.

Readers disappointed in the present-day subplots, which are wound up with remarkable dispatch, will be rewarded by the even more disturbing revelations from half a century ago.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19334-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A top-notch psychological thriller.

COLD COLD HEART

In Hoag’s (The 9th Girl, 2013, etc.) latest, talented young newscaster Dana Nolan is left to navigate a psychological maze after escaping a serial killer.

While recuperating at home in Shelby Mills, Indiana, Dana meets her former high school classmates John Villante and Tim Carver. Football hero Tim is ashamed of flunking out of West Point, and now he’s a sheriff’s deputy. After Iraq and Afghanistan tours, John’s home with PTSD, "angry and bitter and dark." Dana survived abduction by serial killer Doc Holiday, but she still suffers from the gruesome attack by "the man who ruined her life, destroyed her career, shattered her sense of self, damaged her brain and her face." What binds the trio is their friend Casey Grant, who's been missing five years, perhaps also a Holiday victim, even if "[t]he odds against that kind of coincidence had to be astronomical." Hoag’s first 100 pages are a gut-wrenching dissection of the aftereffects of traumatic brain injury: Dana is plagued by "[f]ear, panic, grief, and anger" and haunted by fractured memories and nightmares. "Before Dana had believed in the inherent good in people. After Dana knew firsthand their capacity for evil." Impulsive and paranoid, Dana obsesses over linking Casey’s disappearance to Holiday, with her misfiring brain convincing her that "finding the truth about what had happened to Casey [was] her chance of redemption." But then Hoag tosses suspects into the narrative faster than Dana can count: Roger Mercer, Dana’s self-absorbed state senator stepfather; Mack Villante, who left son John with "no memories of his father that didn’t include drunkenness and cruelty"; even Hardy, the hard-bitten, cancer-stricken detective who investigated Casey’s disappearance. Tense, tightly woven, with every minor character, from Dana’s fiercely protective aunt to Mercer’s pudgy campaign chief, ratcheting up the tension, Hoag’s narrative explodes with an unexpected but believable conclusion.

A top-notch psychological thriller.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-95454-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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