An unpredictable but overwrought thriller.


From the The Eddie Winston Series series , Vol. 1

In this crime novel, the police ineptly attempt to track down an abducted woman while she struggles to escape from her captors.

Eddie Winston, the book’s protagonist, has achieved financial success but is still traumatized by the disappearance of his beloved girlfriend, Holly Austin. After three years with no trace of her, Winston has spiraled into abject loneliness and depression. His only companions are his intuitive dog, Bobo, and a constant supply of alcohol. Out drinking one night, he senses his romantic life may be taking a positive turn when he hooks up with Lori Pritchet, a much younger acquaintance. But after a few happy hours together, Lori leaves his house to retrieve her car and vanishes. Already suspected of having some involvement in Holly’s disappearance, Winston is immediately considered a person of interest when Lori goes missing. Winston’s good looks and charm predispose some to think the worst of him, particularly envious men. Meanwhile, Lori’s abductors are torturing her in the eponymous attic. Police detectives and partners Mike Johnson and Amy Foster are split over the case. Johnson believes in Winston’s guilt and stops at nothing to implicate and frame him. Foster includes Winston in the search, hoping to develop a personal relationship with him. Back in the attic, indefatigable Lori tries to MacGyver her way to freedom. With a slat broken off the bed frame, she smashes a mirror to create sharp weapons: “Now if I only had a scabbard to house this dagger looking thing, I could stash it on my person. Of course, I had to wear a blouse that doesn’t even cover my belly button.” In Wilson’s hodgepodge of a story, the N-word is tossed around by White men, misogynist descriptions are frequent and unwelcome, and several women are ruled by their libidos. Some women lose their abilities to reason around handsome Winston. When Foster contrives a reason to sleep at Winston’s house, she sighs: “Oh, and Eddie, for the record, I’m not wearing any panties either.” But the conclusion of this high-stakes tale comes with a surprising twist, illustrating a vivid imagination at work.

An unpredictable but overwrought thriller.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9981651-0-3

Page Count: 437

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

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A well-turned, if predictable, installment in the popular series.


With the United States the “closest [it’s] been to war” in a lifetime, intelligence operative Jack Ryan Jr. faces stiff odds in trying to avert disaster with China.

Trouble with China begins brewing (yet again in the Clancy books) with the rendition of a Chinese scientist and the killing of his American brother, a specialist in machine learning. With a sniper attack on the German outpost of The Campus, Ryan’s “off-the-books” agency, and the downing of an American plane over the South China Sea, U.S. efforts to recover a Chinese undersea glider capable of detecting a $3 billion American stealth submarine are in jeopardy. Things look especially grim with the capture of crash survivor John Clark, Ryan’s boss and a close compadre of his father, President Jack Ryan Sr. With Ryan Sr. still shaken by the abduction of his wife a year ago and Ryan Jr. doubtful of his abilities as a team leader, it's up to intelligence director Mary Pat Foley to calm the waters with her expertise and strong will. One possible outcome is a Chinese attack on Taiwan. In Bentley’s third outing in the series, it takes a while to get past cookie cutter stuff: Many pages go by before the reader knows what all the tense language, chase scenes, and international travel are about. But the book's cool, checkerboard efficiency eventually takes hold. And the streaks of vulnerability that run through the Ryans impart a human dimension that most such thrillers lack. Bentley also takes pains to distinguish the novel from fake fiction: “Unlike in the movies, getting struck by a rifle round moving at several thousand feet per second was not insignificant.”

A well-turned, if predictable, installment in the popular series.

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9780593422786

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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