The perfect tale for fans of horror with heart.

THE HOLLOW PLACES

A door to another world appears in a museum of oddities, but it’s no gateway to Narnia.

Rudderless after her divorce and terrified at the prospect of moving back in with her parents, 34-year-old Kara returns to where she grew up, quaint Hog Chapel, North Carolina, to stay with her beloved, kindly Uncle Earl, who calls her Carrot and owns the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy. The museum is chock full of taxidermic animals (and more fantastical creatures) and an assortment of other strange and wondrous items, including a grizzled tabby cat named Beau, who keeps the mice from ravaging the exhibits. It doesn’t take long for Kara to settle in, and she earns her keep by cataloging the museum’s collection. After hours, she enjoys hanging out with the gregarious (and often top-hatted) Simon, who works at the Black Hen coffee shop next door and regales Kara with outrageous stories from his Florida childhood. When Earl is hospitalized for knee surgery, Kara happily takes over the day-to-day work at the museum and enlists Simon’s help in patching a significant hole in the building’s drywall. Curiosity gets the best of Kara and Simon when they discover a dark corridor behind the hole, which leads to a door to an otherworldly place where willows whisper with the promise of horrors that soon threaten to spill out into Kara’s world. Luckily, Kara has Simon and maybe even a bit of help from some of the museum’s inhabitants. There are no cheap scares here, and while a few are Lovecraft-ian in flavor, they’re entirely of the author’s wonderfully twisted and endlessly fertile imagination, and readers will have no trouble rooting for the instantly likable Kara, who narrates, and the delightfully offbeat Simon.

The perfect tale for fans of horror with heart.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5112-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Saga/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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