Next book

A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

A NOVEL IN THE SHADOW OF THE RUSSIAN MAFIA

Star-crossed lovers and warring gangs: Methinks the Bard would love it.

Romeo and Juliet meet the Russian Mafia in this bloody saga.

Mikhail Gorbachev resigns, and the Soviet Union becomes the Commonwealth of Independent States. But with communism suddenly gone, capitalism faces enormous hurdles. Anyone trying to start a new business must pay criminals for a roof, or, in Western parlance, for protection. Two major gangs vie for control of the Moscow turf. Timur the Lame, a veteran of Strict Regime Corrective Labor Colony No. 40, is said to descend from Tamerlane. But the “Israelite pakhan Naum Caplan is the new boy in town.” Pakhan is the honorific given the senior vor, or thief. Timur’s gang happens to hate Jews—international Jewish conspiracy, yadda yadda—but they would probably kill each other over the lucrative turf anyway. Roman Timurovich Monsurov, Timur’s son, is attracted to Yulia, Caplan’s daughter. The pull is mutual and mostly physical, though it could develop into love if they were given a chance. A suspicious Timur warns, “Beware of tying knots with Jewesses, my darling son.” But then one of Timur’s thugs shoots one of Caplan’s thugs in the knee, Caplan decides to repay the offense with interest, and a war is on. Meanwhile, Osip Axelrod is chief of the Organized Crime Control Department, and his boss wants him to deliver Timur’s scalp on a platter. Literally. “Help them kill each other off when you can!” boss man says; “What Mother Russia needs to become great again…is more funerals.” Romeo and Juliet—sorry, Roman and Yulia—decide to escape all the mayhem if they possibly can. The Shakespearean plot would be clear even if the lovers’ names had been Boris and Galina, but the author lays it on thick with several references to Willy Shake Shaft. Duh, hit me over the head again, Mr. Littell! That said, the author illuminates the turbulence in post-communist Russian society, a perfect venue for a crime yarn.

Star-crossed lovers and warring gangs: Methinks the Bard would love it.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9798212227711

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 190


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 190


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • 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

Next book

THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

Close Quickview