by S. Lee Manning ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 9, 2022
A riveting, energetic sequel with lead characters worth rooting for.
A U.S. agent takes on a dangerous undercover assignment to dismantle a neo-Nazi group in this third installment of a thriller series.
Kolya Petrov suffers from PTSD after the torture he endured just a year ago. But he’s more than ready when the Executive Covert Agency hands him his latest mission. Kolya, a Russian Jewish immigrant, may even have a personal reason to take down German-based white supremacists. He heads overseas and cozies up to their apparent leader, Frederick Bauer, who’s got his sights set on the Jewish director of an organization outing local Nazis. Kolya, struggling to maintain his covert identity, also faces an unforeseen threat. Bauer’s girlfriend, Lisette Vogel, has her own lethal agenda. She’s secretly hunting the wolf-tattooed neo-Nazi who killed her beloved father. She’s dispatched murderous men along the way, and as she suspects Kolya to be another killer Nazi, he may soon wind up on her hit list. But with Bauer suspecting a traitor to the “cause,” neither Kolya nor Lisette is safe, and both are determined to expose the diabolical plan Bauer’s group has brewing in Manning’s (Nerve Attack, 2021, etc.) tale in which the action rarely lets up. Kolya and Lisette face relentless peril, as naturally distrustful Bauer questions any number of things they do or say. While the neo-Nazis are indisputable villains, other characters have layered personalities; Lisette has flashes of guilt, even when knocking off killers, and Kolya’s cherished fiancee takes up residence in his mind. The author sets an impressive pace, driving the plot forward while slyly reminding readers of Kolya’s rotating identities and dropping subtle nods to earlier series events. In the end, this narrative makes it clear that Nazis, not Germans, are evil. Certain members of that hateful batch, for one, hail from other countries, while Manning showcases the beauty of Germany by often lingering on its historically rich cities and towns.A riveting, energetic sequel with lead characters worth rooting for.
Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2022
Page Count: 366
Publisher: Encircle Publications, LLC
Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2022
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Alex Michaelides ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 16, 2024
More style than substance.
Michaelides takes a literary turn in his latest novel, employing an unreliable narrator, the structure of classical drama, and a self-conscious eye to dismantling the locked-room mystery.
The novel starts off with a murder, and with seven people trapped on an isolated Greek island lashed by a "wild, unpredictable Greek wind." The narrator, soon established as Elliot Chase, then zooms out to address the reader directly, introducing the players—most importantly movie star Lana Farrar. We meet her husband, Jason Miller, her son, Leo, and her friend Kate Crosby, a theater actress. We learn about her rise to fame and her older first husband, Otto Krantz, a Hollywood producer. We learn about Kate’s possibly stalling career and Leo’s plan to apply to acting schools against his mother’s wishes. We learn about Jason’s obsession with guns. And in fragments and shards, we learn about Elliot: his painful childhood; his May–September relationship with an older female writer, now dead; his passion for the theater, where he learned “to change everything about [himself]” to fit in. Though he isn't present in every scene, he conveys each piece of the story leading up to the murder as if he were an omniscient narrator, capable of accessing every character's interior perspective. When he gets to the climax, there is, indeed, a shooting. There is, indeed, a motive. And there is, of course, a twist. The atmosphere of the novel, set mostly on this wild Greek island, echoes strongly the classical tragedies of Greece. The characters are types. The emotions are operatic. And the tragedy, of course, leads us to question the idea of fate. Michaelides seems also to be dipping into the world of Edgar Allan Poe, offering an unreliable narrator who feels more like a literary exercise. As an exploration of genre, it’s really quite fascinating. As a thriller, it’s not particularly surprising.More style than substance.
Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Celadon Books
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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