A splendid riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, conveyed with trademark wisecracking humor, and carried out with...

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NIGHT FALL

This finale—as in final, last, ultimate, never-to-be-another—wraps up two of Green’s popular and successful fantasy series, the Secret Histories (Moonbreaker, 2017, etc.) and the Nightside (The Bride Wore Black Leather, 2012, etc.).

Neither series needs much introduction. The Secret Histories are all about the Droods (less a family than a small nation), whose self-appointed mission is to keep reality safe from marauding supernatural creatures; the Nightside (where it’s always 3 a.m. and pretty much anything goes—the weirder and more violent the better) doesn’t want to control anything, especially itself. For centuries, solemn Pacts and Agreements have kept the Nightside unchanging and the Droods out. But now, impossibly, the Nightside’s boundaries have changed, and something very, very scary is approaching—so scary that even the gods have abandoned the place. Does the prospect of a showdown between hordes of control-freak Droods in impenetrable armor and the immovable, laissez-faire, monster-filled Nightside appeal? Of course it does, and luckily Green’s eager to tell us all about it. What’s really going on, and why? Nobody knows, least of all John Taylor, the man known as Walker (he runs the Nightside), or the Nightside’s mysterious Authorities. The Drood Matriarch, meanwhile, orders shamus Eddie Drood and his lover/sidekick, badass witch Molly Metcalf, to investigate while secretly preparing for war, if necessary to the death—of the Nightside, that is; the Droods always win. Before the grand face-off, though, Green showcases, often hilariously, most if not all of the weird beings and doings you might have missed in the previous books.

A splendid riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, conveyed with trademark wisecracking humor, and carried out with maximum bloodshed and mayhem. In a word, irresistible.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47697-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Ace/Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Not his best, but a spooky pleasure for King’s boundless legion of fans.

THE OUTSIDER

Horrormeister King (End of Watch, 2016, etc.) serves up a juicy tale that plays at the forefront of our current phobias, setting a police procedural among the creepiest depths of the supernatural.

If you’re a little squeamish about worms, you’re really not going to like them after accompanying King through his latest bit of mayhem. Early on, Ralph Anderson, a detective in the leafy Midwestern burg of Flint City, is forced to take on the unpleasant task of busting Terry Maitland, a popular teacher and Little League coach and solid citizen, after evidence links him to the most unpleasant violation and then murder of a young boy: “His throat was just gone,” says the man who found the body. “Nothing there but a red hole. His bluejeans and underpants were pulled down to his ankles, and I saw something….” Maitland protests his innocence, even as DNA points the way toward an open-and-shut case, all the way up to the point where he leaves the stage—and it doesn’t help Anderson’s world-weariness when the evil doesn’t stop once Terry’s in the ground. Natch, there’s a malevolent presence abroad, one that, after taking a few hundred pages to ferret out, will remind readers of King’s early novel It. Snakes, guns, metempsychosis, gangbangers, possessed cops, side tours to jerkwater Texas towns, all figure in King’s concoction, a bloodily Dantean denunciation of pedophilia. King skillfully works in references to current events (Black Lives Matter) and long-standing memes (getting plowed into by a runaway car), and he’s at his best, as always, when he’s painting a portrait worthy of Brueghel of the ordinary gone awry: “June Gibson happened to be the woman who had made the lasagna Arlene Peterson dumped over her head before suffering her heart attack.” Indeed, but overturned lasagna pales in messiness compared to when the evil entity’s head caves in “as if it had been made of papier-mâché rather than bone.” And then there are those worms. Yuck.

Not his best, but a spooky pleasure for King’s boundless legion of fans.

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-8098-9

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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