Administers more of a routine physical than a real shock, but lots of fun anyway, with Deborah a great sidekick. The girls’...

SHOCK

Bestselling Cook (Vector, 1999, etc.) lets loose another infectious medical thriller, this one a delightfully readable though oddly girlish effort that could well be titled Nancy Drew and the Missing Ovary.

Joanna Meissner and Deborah Cochrane, two 24-year-old Harvard grad students working on their Ph.D. theses, decide to sell an egg each to the Windgate fertility clinic on Boston’s fancy North Shore, collect their respective $45,000 fees, buy a condo to rent out, and go off to Venice to finish their work via the Internet. Mischievous Deborah studies molecular biology and has all the good lines; solemn economist Joanna plays straight man when not displaying her strong computer skills. Before they leave for Venice, Joanna gives back her engagement ring to Carlton Williams, a Mass. General intern too blinkered by round-the-clock duties to pay her any attention. When the women return to Cambridge 18 months later, dissertations completed and physical appearance of each slightly changed, Joanna has an irresistible urge to know what happened to her egg. Deborah tries to talk sense into her roommate, but she too gets curious when inquiries reveal Windgate as overly crafty about its fertility research, donors, and egg recipients. So our heroines disguise themselves as sexy Georgina (Deborah) and prudent Prudence (Joanna) and take jobs at Windgate to find out where their eggs went. That’s about all we can tell you without giving away a twist reserved for the three-quarter mark, aside from the fact that a serial killer gets dragged across one chapter as a red herring, that the story echoes The Boys from Brazil, and that the climax devolves into a long chase scene down halls and tunnels.

Administers more of a routine physical than a real shock, but lots of fun anyway, with Deborah a great sidekick. The girls’ masterful verbal swordplay is quite enough to keep the pages singing.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14600-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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A gloriously exciting yarn whose spell will end the moment you turn the last page.

TELL NO ONE

What’s worse than learning that your wife’s been abducted and murdered by a madman? Learning that she hasn’t—in this taut, twisty dose of suspenseful hokum from the gifted chronicler of sleuthing sports-agent Myron Bolitar (Darkest Fear, 2000, etc.).

For all the pain Manhattan pediatrician Dr. David Beck has suffered in the eight years since his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth, his bride of seven months, was torn away from him and later found dead, the case itself was open and shut: She was tortured, branded, and slain by the perp calling himself KillRoy, now doing life on 14 counts of homicide. But the case pops open again with the discovery of two corpses buried near the murder site, along with the baseball bat that was used to incapacitate Beck during the abduction, and with a jolting e-mail Beck’s received from somebody who looks just like Elizabeth. If the message is bogus, how was it faked? And if it’s genuine, why has Elizabeth been hiding for eight years, why has she come back now, and whose body did her father, New York homicide cop Hoyt Parker, identify as hers and bury in her grave? A face-to-face rendezvous that Beck’s mysterious correspondent sets up in Washington Square promises answers—but when it’s time for the meeting, Beck is being hunted by the police for a murder a lot less than eight years old. Aided by celebrity lawyer Hester Crimstein, grateful drug-dealer Tyrese Barton, and his own sister Linda’s lover—that glamorous plus-size model Shauna—Beck goes up against even more improbable foes, from ruthless zillionaire developer Griffin Scope to bare-hands killer Eric Wu, in a quest for answers that’ll have you burning the midnight oil till 3:00 a.m. and scratching your head in disbelief when you wake up the next morning.

A gloriously exciting yarn whose spell will end the moment you turn the last page.

Pub Date: June 12, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-33555-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

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THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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