An exciting paranormal action tale, notwithstanding its excessive plot summaries.


From the The Samantha Starr Series series , Vol. 3

In the third installment of Menear’s (Poseidon’s Sword, 2015, etc.) thriller series, an airline pilot is the key to activating a weapon with the potential to destroy much of the world.

After Samantha Starr discovered an artifact in a curio shop in Hong Kong, she became caught in the middle of a race between various groups to find a powerful weapon called Poseidon’s sword. Sam’s artifact is a prototype of the larger weapon, and it seems that only she can activate both versions. This makes her a target for abduction by arms dealer Lord Sweetwater, as well as by members of the Black Sun, a nefarious cult that may not be as dead as Sam thought. Fortunately, Sam is aided by the British Special Air Service, including her boyfriend, Capt. Ross Sinclair, and the U.S. Navy, in which her twin brothers, Mike and Matt Starr, are lieutenants. Meanwhile, three sisters, Blaze, Luna, and Solraya, raised as goddesses for 23 years in the Himalayas by their captors from ancient Atlantis, have a telepathic connection to Sam. Many people believe she’s the Golden Twin, prophesied to locate and use Poseidon’s Sword. This would likely decimate a large part of Earth, and if the Atlanteans have their way, they’ll use the weapon to rule the world. Menear pulls readers into a story in progress: Sam has already been dodging bad guys for a while in previous installments, when she wasn’t being kidnapped and/or tortured by them. But those just joining the series with this book won’t feel lost, thanks to numerous recaps via dialogue or Sam’s first-person narration. These summaries also prove somewhat detrimental, however, as characters repeatedly explain what’s going on. The protagonist still manages to shine, though; she gains sympathy by proving to be more concerned about a fellow abductee than herself, and she’s unquestionably formidable as a taekwondo expert. The novel’s exhilarating second half features intense battles with a giant sea creature, as well as the eventual appearance of Atlantean assassins. A stellar final-act turn highlights the world-threatening danger.

An exciting paranormal action tale, notwithstanding its excessive plot summaries.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2017


Page Count: -

Publisher: Black Stallion Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2017

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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

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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