Not particularly original but sure to unnerve.

READ REVIEW

NATURE OF EVIL

A murder mystery lifted straight from the diary of a serial killer.

Stephens (Aloha Means Goodbye, 2012) introduces a cycle of murder doomed to repeat itself. Marcus Carter and his partner, Angela Darden, are investigating a series of disturbing homicides when the killer’s pattern suddenly changes. Instead of targeting only female prostitutes, whose faces he removes post-mortem with a knife, the murderer starts victimizing people close to Marcus: his grandfather, who recently passed away, and even Angela’s own family. In between the action, Stephens keeps readers engaged with glimpses into the journal entries of a madman whose killing spree in the 1940s matches some of the details in the present-day murders. Each time readers step inside his head, they learn a little more about the psychology behind the crimes. To the killer, who receives his instructions from a demon, the only way to speak to God is to work with the devil. As the case unravels, Stephens uses supernatural influences in place of scientific explanations, and only at the end does he offer a less fantastical theory. Still, the lack of a traditional smoking gun makes for an unsettling read, even if it does lay out a premise that’s been explored before, most notably in Hollywood. This version reads like a series of plot points; characterizations aren’t much deeper than what’s necessary to drive events forward and maintain suspense. For many readers, though, this murderous tale will be a page-turner, an easily digestible thriller with a few effective images—creepy mannequins that appear seemingly from nowhere; the sagging, peeled faces of the dead; and disembodied voices that speak of unstoppable evil.

Not particularly original but sure to unnerve.

Pub Date: May 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470091361

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

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.

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?

Cameron is a worthy keeper of the Clancy flame. Fans will be pleased.

TOM CLANCY SHADOW OF THE DRAGON

Cameron continues the late Tom Clancy’s long tradition of exciting thrillers featuring the Ryan family and rock-ribbed American heroes.

As an American science vessel pushes through Arctic ice in the Chukchi Borderland, a researcher hears banging and underwater human screams. Soon it becomes clear that a "boomer is in distress and calling for help.” Said boomer is a People’s Liberation Army submarine patrolling the Arctic, and its crew will die if it can’t surface. At the same time, series regular John Clark is in Vietnam training new agent Lisanne Robertson on how to avoid landing in a “Yourassisgrassistan” prison. And the Chinese have their worries as they combat the “Three Evils” of “terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.” They crack down on Uyghurs, who want “independence from the Chinese boot,” so Chinese intelligence is looking for a Uyghur separatist woman in western China whose husband had been trundled off for reeducation. But luckily, “the good guys”—in particular, the CIA’s John Clark—are looking for her too. It turns out that the woman has specific engineering knowledge of considerable military value to the great powers, and she wants to escape. Maybe Clark can help, or maybe not. And as if all this isn’t complicated enough, the CIA is pretty sure it has a mole whom the Chinese have code-named SURVEYOR and who is selling secrets to Beijing. The mole hunters search relentlessly, because they “hated Communism with the intensity of a thousand suns. Socialism was no better.” Clancy’s fans are used to these grand-scale plots, where a big part of the fun is seeing how all the puzzle pieces fit together in one big salute to American power and righteousness. And as for Cameron’s style, it’s as if Clancy himself were at the keyboard.  

Cameron is a worthy keeper of the Clancy flame. Fans will be pleased.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more