A political thriller that will appeal to action junkies and armchair diplomats alike.

READ REVIEW

DEEP BLACK

An elite mercenary unit searches for a radicalized Saudi prince in Islamic State group–controlled Iraq.

Making use of his experiences in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne division, work as a private contractor, and scholarship in the field of international relations, McFate returns with his second book about military contractor Tom Locke. Like the author, Locke is a former American soldier with a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics who works as private contractor, or mercenary, in some of the world’s most hostile environments. In hiding from a former employer (Shadow War, 2016), Locke and his small team, made up of former members of the Thai and British Special Forces units, must take whatever jobs they can find in the war-torn Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. Although this results in humanitarian missions that enrich Locke’s soul, it does little to fatten his wallet. So when a mysterious Saudi messenger offers the team a hefty sum to find a member of the Saudi royal family inside IS-controlled territory, they take the job. The mission becomes increasingly delicate when it appears that the missing prince is part of a larger plot revolving around a faction of the Saudi royal family that's attempting to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. The story’s premise could have been plucked from the headlines, and it has an enjoyable, realistic feeling due to the careful details included by an author who knows the realities of foreign combat as it happens on the ground and behind the doors of diplomatic decision-makers. However, the most intriguing parts of the book are moments of contemplation from Locke: “A soldier’s ethics were never marked by the wars he fought in, only the way he fought them. But now I could pick and choose my missions. Mercenaries have to own their ethics, unlike soldiers.”

A political thriller that will appeal to action junkies and armchair diplomats alike.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-240373-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

THE SILENT PATIENT

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

Did you like this book?

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more