An immersive and thoughtful account of an FBI agent’s professional and personal travails.



A debut murder mystery chronicles an emotionally addled FBI agent’s pursuit of a serial killer.

Jennifer Abbott, a young college student, goes missing—a story that attracts national attention—and when her body is found, FBI agent Regan Ross is asked to assist in the investigation. This murder is a particularly grisly one, and Ross suspects that this isn’t the perpetrator’s first. Also, the killer purposely leaves clues on a geocaching website, a taunting challenge to law enforcement. After Ross speaks to forensic psychologist Dr. Sheridan Rourke—she’s visiting Quantico to deliver a special lecture—the agent becomes convinced that the same man who killed Abbott is responsible for a string of murders in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, Ross is relentlessly hounded by Monica Spears, a reporter intent on interviewing her about her traumatic past. Horn builds the story around Ross’ complex character—a brilliant expert at geographic profiling, she served with distinction in the Army in Iraq. Ross also suffers deeply from the untimely deaths of her parents, a loss she refuses to confront but that still stubbornly haunts her. Her authentic emotions and eccentricity—she’s a martial arts expert who owns a vintage Porsche—lend plausibility to the narrative as a whole. Her pain is depicted delicately—the reader will likely be relieved when she’s ordered by her superior to see a psychotherapist. But the personal drama that parallels the crime story can be gratuitously intricate. For example, Ross’ sister, Erin, a single parent, ends up entangled in a romantic relationship with Rourke. Ross only discovered her sister was a lesbian after Erin’s daughter, Lanie, was nearly killed in a brutal assault by a group of teens. And Rourke’s former lover might also have been a victim of the serial killer while he was still in Northern Ireland. While artfully depicted, these narrative complications can seem contrived and distract from the murder mystery’s march to resolution. But the hunt for the killer—particularly the science of criminal investigation—is described with impressive expertise and verve. The unusual braiding of sensitive, personal drama with a crime tale is inventive, if sometimes overdone, and generally makes for a gripping read.

An immersive and thoughtful account of an FBI agent’s professional and personal travails. 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017


Page Count: 341

Publisher: Perpetuity Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2017

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.


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

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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