Rife with action, suspense, and a final act that’s fully energized.

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The Einstein Proxy

Various intelligence agencies scramble to get their hands on Albert Einstein’s lost manuscript, the solution to the Theory of Everything, in Dimodica’s (Covert Matters, 2008) thriller.

The CIA’s belief that Einstein solved the TOE and hid his final manuscript was pure conjecture, but the document may have resurfaced. The TOE solution can be used to manipulate the forces of nature and, in the wrong hands, as a weapon. The agency sends special activities division operative Terry Solak and theoretical physicist Melissa Hastings to Istanbul to recover and verify the manuscript. But they’re already behind Tefvik Yilmaz of the Dönmeh, a secret organization in Turkey. He’s been tracking and killing the keepers, a circle of scientists that’s kept the document concealed for years. Soon, everyone from Russian intelligence agents to Mossad officer David Reisman heads to Morocco, hoping to retrieve the TOE solution from one of the last keepers. The exhilarating novel showcases myriad agencies and characters, some of whom have less than reputable agendas. Short chapters that bounce from scene to scene give the story a steady tempo. To help the reader remember important players, Dimodica spotlights certain characters, like Americans Terry and Melissa or the mysterious Farraj, who offers to help David but whose true allegiance is initially unclear. Yilmaz is unquestionably the most fascinating. A prominently featured bad guy (and the deadliest), Yilmaz also has a complicated back story. He was a victim of rape while at an orphanage and is later taken in by Oguz Ghanem, his Dönmeh benefactor, who treats him like a son. Terry’s history, on the other hand, is unknown. He initially seems condescending, apparently believing that one of Melissa’s better traits is the fact that she doesn’t ask questions. Nevertheless, readers will savor the more overt qualities of the hero-villain duo. Terry, for example, faces armed men regardless of whether he’s armed or not, while Yilmaz winks at someone he then shoots in the head and does cringe-worthy things with other people’s fingernails. The story picks up even more speed as it nears its indelible ending.

Rife with action, suspense, and a final act that’s fully energized.

Pub Date: April 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1507885819

Page Count: 414

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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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