Love letter to Blood Curse fans, but new readers are invited, too.

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BLOOD FATHER

A BLOOD CURSE NOVEL

In the sixth volume of Dawn’s Blood Curse series, the Silivasi brothers learn the whereabouts of their father.

The Silivasi brothers—Kagen, Nathaniel, Marquis, and Nachari—are vampires from the house of Jadon. Their lineage is the result of a curse struck against the Romanian Prince Jadon (and his more evil brother, Prince Jaegar) in 800 B.C.E. Today, the Silivasis live in Dark Moon Vale with the women who are their “destinies” (human mates chosen by the gods) while they battle lycans and members of the rival house of Jaegar. When Saber Alexiares—“no longer a Dark One, at least, not technically. In truth, he never really had been”—visits Nathaniel’s brownstone with claims that the Silivasis’ father, Keitaro, is alive and enslaved in Mhier, the home dimension of the werewolves, the brothers are hard-pressed to believe him. But what choice do the Silivasis have? Meanwhile, in Mhier, the tragedy-hardened Arielle Nightsong has been secretly aiding Keitaro, mending the physical and mental anguish inflicted by King Tyrus Thane and his lycan minions. But now, to punish his top general, Cain, for sleeping with Queen Cassandra, Thane will stage an arena battle between Cain and the legendarily brutal Keitaro. Even if Keitaro survives, however, Thane’s sadism is limitless. Will the Silivasis breach this parallel world in time to save the father who’s been presumed dead for centuries? Fans of Dawn’s steamy paranormal series will feel like she’s delivered the main course in this latest installment. Nimble prose and pacing also help new readers learn her detailed world. Once inside, they can enjoy the focus placed on Kagen, the only brother not yet paired with his “destiny”; there’s an irresistible erotic pulse in his scenes with Arielle: “He ran his hand upward along the small of her back...and buried his fingers in her silky, wild hair.” Thane’s monstrous desire for Arielle is a satisfying wrinkle in a plot that sometimes doesn’t challenge the protagonists enough (for instance, they learn how to travel across dimensions too easily). Tantalizing mentions of prior events deepen the series’ narrative and show that Dawn intends for her cast to continuously evolve.

Love letter to Blood Curse fans, but new readers are invited, too.

Pub Date: June 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1937223120

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ghost Pines Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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An eerie and affecting satire of the detective novel.

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DEATH IN HER HANDS

A note suggesting a woman has been killed in the woods captures the imagination of an elderly woman, with alarming intensity.

Vesta, the extremely unreliable narrator of Moshfegh’s fourth novel (My Year of Rest and Relaxation, 2018, etc.), is a 72-year-old widow who’s recently purchased a new home, a cabin on a former Girl Scout camp. Walking her dog through the nearby woods, she sees a note lying on the ground which says that a woman named Magda has been killed "and here is her dead body," but there's no body there or any sign of violence. Call the police? Too easy: Instead, Vesta allows herself to be consumed with imagining what Magda might have been like and the circumstances surrounding her murder. Whatever the opposite of Occam’s razor is, Vesta’s detective work is it: After some web searching on how mystery writers do their work, she surmises that Magda was a Belarussian teen sent to the United States to work at a fast-food restaurant, staying in the basement of a woman whose son, Blake, committed the murder. Moshfegh on occasion plays up the comedy of Vesta’s upside-down thinking: “A good detective presumes more than she interrogates.” But Vesta slowly reveals herself as what we might now call a Moshfegh-ian lead: a woman driven to isolation and feeling disassociated from herself, looking for ways to cover up for a brokenness she's loath to confront. Over the course of the novel, Vesta’s projections about Magda's identity become increasingly potent and heartbreaking symbols of wounds from the narrator's childhood and marriage. The judgmental voice of her late husband, Walter, keeps rattling in her head, and she defiantly insists that “I didn’t want Walter in my mindspace anymore. I wanted to know things on my own.” You simultaneously worry about Vesta and root for her, and Moshfegh’s handling of her story is at once troubling and moving.

An eerie and affecting satire of the detective novel. (This book has been postponed; we'll update the publication date when it's available.)

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7935-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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