Harrison pens a good, basic story stretched thin by unnecessary and distracting detail.

READ REVIEW

THE SILENT WIFE

Harrison’s first novel tells the story of a couple splitting apart, with alternating chapters featuring the viewpoints of the main characters.

Jodi Brett and her longtime companion, Todd Gilbert, have been in a satisfying 20-year relationship. Jodi, a psychotherapist, works out of their expensive Chicago condominium, seeing two clients a day during the week and spending the remainder of her time taking classes in flower arranging, walking their golden retriever, Freud, and preparing gourmet meals. Todd, who worked his way up in independent development by flipping properties, had an unhappy childhood. Their comfortable life, marred only by his occasional straying eye, seems to suit them both, at least until he catches sight of Natasha. The daughter of an old friend, Natasha is no longer a pimply teenager with black nail polish and garishly dyed hair. Instead, she has turned into a curvaceous coed who becomes involved in a tempestuous relationship with Todd, the man Jodi thought would always be there for her. Now, Natasha is demanding that Todd leave Jodi and seems determined to make that happen, even if she has to resort to a few nasty tricks of her own. But Jodi isn’t through with Todd, nor is she ready to roll over and play dead: In fact, if anything, she’s prepared to make sure someone else meets that fate if that’s what it takes to stop the events that threaten to disrupt her carefully ordered existence. Harrison, who in real life is also a psychotherapist, writes a neat atmospheric tale that examines life from both characters’ points of view but sometimes works a bit too hard to cram extraneous detail into the story, particularly when it comes to psychotherapy and Jodi’s present clients. While readers can probably get over a few mentions of Jodi’s work, the Q-and-A style rendition of her own therapy and references to different schools of psychological thought may make readers’ eyes glaze.

Harrison pens a good, basic story stretched thin by unnecessary and distracting detail.

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-14-312323-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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?

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?

No Comments Yet
more