An immersive and satisfying addition to the category of Boston crime fiction.


From the Elder Darrow Mystery series , Vol. 4

Cass (Burton’s Solo, 2019, etc.) returns to his favorite bar owner and cop in this fourth installment of a detective series.

Things are changing around the old Esposito, the Boston dive that recovering alcoholic Elder Darrow has been dutifully attempting to turn into a reputable bar offering “jazz on the weekends.” Now “you could drink without getting into a fist fight,” Elder drolly brags, “and step outside to smoke without worrying about being mugged.” But there’s a new mob boss in the neighborhood—Donald Maldonado—who has sent one of his underlings around asking about Elder’s on-the-run ex-girlfriend, talented thief Kathleen Crawford. Elder has no idea where she is because Kathleen doesn’t want him to know. Under the name Nina, Kathleen is currently hiding out at the Boston Pre-Release Center. But while on work release at the paupers’ grave on Rinker Island, she accidentally discovers a corpse that shouldn’t be there: a man in an expensive suit with a bullet wound in his head. Elder’s friend homicide detective Dan Burton is called in to investigate the death (and recognizes Kathleen, still at the scene). The dead man turns out to be a local activist with enemies among the city’s rich and powerful, some of the same forces who are currently trying to bring the Olympics to Boston—and tear down half the city to prepare for it. Among the possible targets: the Esposito itself. Cass’ prose is wonderfully textured, evoking both the Boston weather and the fatalistic attitudes of the city’s denizens: “The sun was the color of weak lemonade in a washed-out blue sky, but at least the wind wasn’t blowing in off the water anymore.” The plot is quick and engrossing, and at the center of the crimes and detective work is a highly relatable story of a man who can’t decide whether to cling to the past or surrender to the future. Fans of the previous books in the series will appreciate this offering, but those new to the Esposito can also enjoy this self-contained narrative—and maybe even become regulars.

An immersive and satisfying addition to the category of Boston crime fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019


Page Count: -

Publisher: Encircle Publications

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2019

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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