Acute horror tales that are as enthralling as they are outright scary.

THE MANY DEATHS OF COLE PARKER

AND OTHER STORIES

Characters suffer the torment of loneliness, heartache, and otherworldly beings in this collection of grim short stories.

In the title tale, Cole Parker dies at the hands of a mysterious, tall, gray man. Yet Cole somehow returns to consciousness in an entirely new life that’s both strange and familiar. His wife, Angeline, and her abusive ex-husband, Frank Bannon, are there as well, but though their faces and names haven’t changed, everything else is different. Chillingly, the black-eyed gray man makes his way into this life to kill Cole once again. This begins a seemingly endless cycle of lives for Cole, from an escaped prisoner to a vile, corrupt senator, joined by versions of Angeline and Frank. If Cole can learn who the gray man is, perhaps he can stop him from repeatedly murdering him and return to his original existence with Angeline. Grant’s book also includes five additional stories that are shorter but equally dark. In “The Dead Years,” a man meets Margot Walker, who’s the mirror image of his lost love, Emma Grace. He wants to believe that Margot truly is Emma, but the truth is far more disconcerting. The author, whose work includes TV series, short films, and a comic-book adaptation, has a crisp prose that condenses hefty narratives into short forms. “A Thousand Rooms of Darkness,” for example, concerns Anne Hunnicut and her intense phobia of Halloween; her meticulous backstory gives this fear credibility and enhances the suspenseful tale’s latter half. As with all good horror stories, relatable issues affect the characters here, such as despondency and suicidal urges. But Grant also succeeds at dread-inducing setups. Jack Bennett, in “Static,” is the bodyguard for Laura Cooper, but even he’s shaken by the unexplained staticky calls to a safe house’s private number.

Acute horror tales that are as enthralling as they are outright scary. (acknowledgements, author bio)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947041-72-1

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Running Wild Press

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • 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

Did you like this book?

Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE ORDER

A legendary spy takes a vacation—or tries to, anyway—in Silva’s 20th Gabriel Allon novel.

Gabriel is trying to enjoy some rest and relaxation with his family in Venice when he learns that an old friend has died. As it happens, this old friend was Pope Paul VII, and it’s not long before Allon is summoned by the pontiff’s personal secretary. Archbishop Luigi Donati has reason to believe that the Holy Father did not die a natural death. For each of the past several summers, Silva has delivered a thriller that seems to be ripped from the headlines. This latest book feels, at first, like something of a throwback. Palace intrigue at the Vatican might seem quaint compared to Islamist extremism or Russia’s rise as an international influence, but Silva makes it relevant and compelling. Allon discovers that the most likely culprits in the death of the pope are connected to far-right leaders throughout Europe, and the rediscovery of a lost Gospel sheds new light on Christian anti-Semitism. The villains here are Catholic traditionalists—Silva’s imaginary Paul VII looks a lot like the real-life Francis I—and “populist” politicians who appeal to nativist, anti-globalist sympathies. As Silva looks at European contempt for a new wave of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, he finds a model for this xenophobia in ancient hatred of the Jewish people, an antipathy that has its roots in the New Testament. He interjects a few Bible studies lessons and offers a bit of history as background; these passages add depth without impeding the forward momentum of the plot. Readers familiar with this series may notice the evolution of a motif introduced a few novels ago: In the world of Gabriel Allon, the United States has receded from relevance on the world stage.

Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-283484-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more