Never quite comes to a boil, even with all the corpses.

THE BANCROFT STRATEGY

An attractive securities analyst with blood ties to an immensely rich foundation finds herself in mortal danger when she goes snooping into the foundation’s financial matters.

Since the dead need no sleep, readers should be able to count on new Ludlum formula-adventures for the rest of time. The heroine of this multi-death, intercontinental super-thriller is clever but modest Andrea Bancroft, whose late mum had divorced herself completely from her evil ex-husband’s super-rich family when Andrea was a child. Andrea, reared without a penny from the Bancrofts, has been supporting herself doing due diligence for an investment firm specializing in undervalued corporations in need of a slug of capital. Her carefully nurtured career is blown out of the water by an invitation from the Bancroft Foundation and its head, Paul Bancroft, to join the foundation board, a position that makes her an instant millionaire. Meanwhile, miles away from the architecturally astonishing Katonah, N.Y., headquarters of the Bancroft Foundation, 40ish State Department operative Todd Belknap, whose specialty is finding unfindable evildoers, has been galvanized into hyper-action by the snatching and grabbing of his mentor and hero Jared Rinehart. By all indications, if Todd does not find Jared within hours, the man who saved Todd’s bacon more than once will be, well, toast. Andrea, much taken with her relative Paul Bancroft and his brilliant young son, sets about being a conscientious director by digging around in the organization’s records to see how the Bancroft wealth and Paul Bancroft’s megalomaniacal reading of 18th-century philosopher-economist Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian theories are put to use. Bad idea. Her findings put her in the path of the frantic Todd Belknap, who mistakes her at first for one of the dark forces hiding his buddy. Their mutual attraction grows as they separately and jointly face possible death and torture from the Foundation’s dark side and from Todd’s old State Department cronies.

Never quite comes to a boil, even with all the corpses.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2006

ISBN: 0-312-31673-9

Page Count: 544

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 47

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more