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Crazy Hawk

A riveting futuristic tale of global ruin and rescue.

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In this post-apocalyptic tale, a fierce woman sets out to rescue her kidnapped sister and exact revenge.

Deirdre Buford lives in a ravaged world, one destroyed by the Breakdown, a global collapse that included the spread of the Great Virus. Instead of order, there’s now tribal warfare—Deirdre is a Hussar, part of a group of “ruthless raiders,” who are as bellicose as they are philosophical, a strangely bookish people in a now largely illiterate world. Her teenage sister, Mindy, is kidnapped by Tom Carlyle, a mercenary who supplies kids to a powerful group known as the Bees, who subjects them to an experimental genetics program. A faction of the Bees, including its leader Commandant Walker, believe both Deirdre and Mindy might be evolutionarily special, and therefore of use in trying to create a “resurgence” of humanity. Stewart constructs a chilling, barren world and suspensefully chronicles Deirdre’s mission to rescue Mindy. While Deirdre’s character can be cartoonish—at one point, she’s described as a “Superwoman”—she’s a fascinating lead. Despite her penchant for brutality, she embarks upon a surprisingly tender love affair with Jube, a soft-spoken photographer. Deirdre becomes known by the tribal nations that loathe her and all Hussars as “Crazy Hawk,” a moniker that reflects their contempt and respect. The cultural commentary that undergirds the plot is unremarkable, even silly—the world, according to Deirdre, suffers a “collapse of the spirit, some kind of worldwide emotional crisis” after the “Cloud of Knowledge” disappears, a catastrophe for a people who replaced “soul searching” with Google searching. This ersatz philosophizing doesn’t ultimately undermine the novel’s considerable dramatic power, though. This is a thoroughly absorbing book, one filled with thrilling action and psychologically subtle character portrayal.

A riveting futuristic tale of global ruin and rescue.

Pub Date: April 11, 2024

ISBN: 9798989504800

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Hovartus Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2024

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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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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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PROPHET SONG

Captivating, frightening, and a singular achievement.

As Ireland devolves into a brutal police state, one woman tries to preserve her family in this stark fable.

For Eilish Stack, a molecular biologist living with her husband and four children in Dublin, life changes all at once and then slowly worsens beyond imagining. Two men appear at her door one night, agents of the new secret police, seeking her husband, Larry, a union official. Soon he is detained under the Emergency Powers Act recently pushed through by the new ruling party, and she cannot contact him. Eilish sees things shifting at work to those backing the ruling party. The state takes control of the press, the judiciary. Her oldest son receives a summons to military duty for the regime, and she tries to send him to Northern Ireland. He elects to join the rebel forces and soon she cannot contact him, either. His name and address appear in a newspaper ad listing people dodging military service. Eilish is coping with her father’s growing dementia, her teenage daughter’s depression, the vandalizing of her car and house. Then war comes to Dublin as the rebel forces close in on the city. Offered a chance to flee the country by her sister in Canada, Eilish can’t abandon hope for her husband’s and son’s returns. Lynch makes every step of this near-future nightmare as plausible as it is horrific by tightly focusing on Eilish, a smart, concerned woman facing terrible choices and losses. An exceptionally gifted writer, Lynch brings a compelling lyricism to her fears and despair while he marshals the details marking the collapse of democracy and the norms of daily life. His tonal control, psychological acuity, empathy, and bleakness recall Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006). And Eilish, his strong, resourceful, complete heroine, recalls the title character of Lynch’s excellent Irish-famine novel, Grace (2017).

Captivating, frightening, and a singular achievement.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780802163011

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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