A harrowing if entertaining ride. Fans of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series will, beg pardon, eat this up.



More murder, mayhem, and madness, Italian-style.

Dazieri’s Kill the Father (2017) introduced two psychically wounded characters, Dante Torre and Colomba Caselli, who wrestle with various demons while solving extremely nasty crimes. In this follow-up, the opening gambit is a very nasty crime indeed, with a whole train car full of victims—and that car is the first-class compartment of the Milan-to-Rome express, exciting visions of the class struggle. Of one victim, Dazieri writes by way of warming up to the subject, “the officer decided that this was the deadest dead person he’d ever laid eyes on.” Leave it to a book with a lead named Dante to impose degrees of deadness, but whatever the case, suspicion immediately falls on the usual suspects—the Muslims, that is. A few raids on mosques and one exploding head later, Dante divines that maybe the Islamic State group isn’t to blame after all; for her part, the already well-traumatized Colomba is put on leave, giving her and Dante the freedom of the highway. What they discover while trundling back and forth to Germany, Austria, and elsewhere is that the real killer is Giltine, an avenging angel of sorts, a woman engineered to a fine point of psychosis, with the fingerprints of Stasi and KGB all over the scene. “She scares me, CC,” says Dante. He’s almost as dead inside as Giltine, whose name is that of the goddess of death in ancient Lithuanian mythology, but Giltine has a special knack for recruiting people from bad novelists to Norman Bates wannabes to do her dirty work for her, a whole army of darkness. Can Dante and Colomba save the NATO powers from a woman who likes nothing better than to stick syringes full of mescaline and psylocibin into her victims’ eyes? That question is answered with the most carefully crafted of cliffhangers, one that leaves the door wide open for more blood-spilling adventures to come.

A harrowing if entertaining ride. Fans of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series will, beg pardon, eat this up.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


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

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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