Awfully fast and agreeably scary.

READ REVIEW

CUT AND RUN

A throat slasher and a U.S. Marshall duel for possession of a woman who knows much too much about the government’s witness protection program.

Paolo, the merciless throat slasher and self-mutilator in this latest from tension master Pearson (The Body of David Hayes, 2004, etc.), is in the employ of the super-evil Romero gang, very bad guys who have somehow come to control the government programmer who encrypted every bit of information about every last federally protected witness. Among the thousands of witnesses now threatened with exposure is Hope Stevens, the woman with the goods on the Romeros and the great vanished love of U.S. Marshall Roland Larson’s life. The door that slammed shut five years ago on any future for the two when Hope entered the witness protection program without him is now ajar, and Larson is dead keen to find her, save her and take up where they left off. But there’s a complication. Larson learns that Hope, who left the protection program to vanish even deeper into the heartland, now has someone else in her life. Following the slightest of clues, Paolo and Larson chase Hope from city to city, just missing her and each other, until Paolo is clever enough to snatch the plucky five-year-old daughter Hope has hidden from the world. When Larson at last finds Hope, she’s frantic with fear for the child, and Larson has his hands full keeping her safe and out of the hunt for Paolo, the missing programmer, and the Romero gang who are getting ready to auction off their wealth of information to their revenge-crazed underworld associates. Newly exposed witnesses begin to drop as the Romeros demonstrate the goods. Cell phone and e-mail trails lead the couple from Florida all the way to Pearson’s favorite Pacific Northwest, where Paolo, now maimed by oven cleaner but still holding Penny, is headed to the auction, still under orders to murder Hope Stevens.

Awfully fast and agreeably scary.

Pub Date: April 6, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-6726-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2005

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

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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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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