by Simon R. Green ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 1, 2019
Though the hero defeats the family curse, the big story here is his struggle to maintain his own humanity.
An alien living on Earth endures a war waging between his alien and human selves while also investigating a family curse for an old friend.
Turned into a human in 1963 after his spaceship crashed in England, Ishmael Jones has always lived a life under the radar (Murder in the Dark, 2018, etc.). Until now, he’s been able to reconcile his alien and human selves, drawing on an impressive set of skills, like his powerful strength and ability to read people as well as some supervision from a shadowy group called the Organization, to help him solve crimes committed on the fringes of society. Though Ishmael doesn’t like to think about his nonhuman past, a look in the mirror one day tells him the alien within is threatening to resurface and destroy his humanity. He doesn’t know how to quell this turmoil, which wouldn’t bother him so much if his human side weren’t happily sharing a life with Penny Belcourt, a willing co-adventurer in life and the Organization’s missions. While Ishmael ponders whether to tell Penny about his potentially dwindling humanity, his friend and former colleague Robert Bergin reaches out to Ishmael to seek out his specific skill set for some unusual assistance. Though Robert hasn’t seen Ishmael in 30 years, Ishmael hasn’t aged a day, and while Robert doesn’t know the truth, Ishmael’s lack of aging persuades Robert that Ishmael may be exactly who he needs to help him. Robert’s betrothed daughter, Gillian, hopes to avoid the family curse of the death of every man who married a Bergin woman on their wedding night. Ishmael and Penny are skeptical about the supernatural forces causing the deaths, but when the pastor who’s been engaged to perform the ceremony is murdered, they agree to investigate.Though the hero defeats the family curse, the big story here is his struggle to maintain his own humanity.
Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019
Page Count: 192
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019
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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 Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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