This bilge is a middle finger in the face of most Americans, but if you happen to think Barry Soetorobama is the devil...

LIBERTY'S LAST STAND

An action-packed thriller and political rant featuring series standbys Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini.

Islamic terrorists have snuck across the Mexican border and carried out vicious attacks that have killed hundreds of Americans. President Barry Soetoro (the name Barack Obama really used until he was 10) suspends the Constitution and declares martial law. Barack—er, Barry—is a gun-confiscating dictator, an emperor, and most likely a closeted gay man who needs the welfare-seeking, baby-popping Mexican illegals as future Democratic voters. Every right-thinking citizen is simply fed up to the gills with him. “It’s a miracle someone hasn’t shot at him before now,” a character says. “But why shoot him?” thinks Carmellini—the Republicans would win in November in a landslide anyway. But Soetoro cancels the election and arrests many prominent conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh. This is the crisis Carmellini has been waiting for. “If you live in America, you gotta have some guns,” he says, “so when the political contract falls apart…yeah!” So it’s no wonder that the good people of Texas decide to secede and re-form the Republic of Texas. Oba—sorry, Soetoro—intends to crush the rebellion at any cost. That means civil war, with civilians at grave risk on both sides. Power plants and bridges get destroyed, and hardly just in Texas. Evil Muslims play a dramatic role both in provoking the national crisis and in bringing about its dramatic resolution. “I am America’s hope,” declaims Soetoro in a final explosion of ego. The author doesn’t even bother to invent a completely fictional villain—no need, when he has the current president to slur.

This bilge is a middle finger in the face of most Americans, but if you happen to think Barry Soetorobama is the devil incarnate, then by all means buy it. The government knows where you live, though, so keep that AR-15 loaded and by your nightstand.

Pub Date: June 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62157-507-8

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Regnery

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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

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DEVOLUTION

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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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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