Certainly a must for Egyptophiles; transcends its historical genre and is sure to delight anyone who has ever heard of Tut,...


Valley of the Kings


Coffey’s debut historical novel traces the lives and events during the 18th dynasty of Egypt from the time of Pharaoh Amenhotep to Ramesses.

Machiavellian intrigue is mere child’s play compared to what went on in ancient Egypt. Rival gods, powerful priests, opium addiction, jealousy, war, incest, pederasty, summary executions, unchecked ambition, and spying from behind curtains are just a few of the royal shenanigans in this epic envisioning of Pharaonic Egypt. Coffey has a knack for turning historical figures (even those with unpronounceable names) into living people the reader can love, hate, or feel ambivalent about. The story opens with the two sons of Amenhotep—Tuthmosis and Teppy. They are mischievous and rely on each other to navigate the strange world of adults. Teppy is shy, deformed, and plagued by nightmares; his brother, strong, brazen, and protective of Teppy. Their mother, the ever-scheming Queen Tiye, defies her husband and sends Tuthmosis to the Nubian front, where after saving his father, he is killed. Tiye maneuvers Teppy onto the throne after the death of Amenhotep. Teppy becomes Pharaoh Akhenaten, marries Nefertiti, and leaves the god Amun’s city of Thebes to found a new capital, Amarna, under the god Aten. They give birth to King Tut, who is forced to return to Thebes after the death of his parents and whose own death paves the way to the 19th dynasty. All the while there are wars, alliances, and betrayals, good priests vs. evil priests, conniving relatives, curses cast, murderous jealousies, plagues, and famines. Coffey not only creates empathy for and breathes life into historical figures, but he inhabits his narrative with a cast who, like real people, are neither good nor evil, but a confused mixture of motive, belief, upbringing, and circumstance. His characters act according to these various drives and needs to realistically propel the action forward.

Certainly a must for Egyptophiles; transcends its historical genre and is sure to delight anyone who has ever heard of Tut, Nefertiti, pharaohs, pyramids, or mummies.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Kindle Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

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


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

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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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