A thoroughly entertaining, spring-loaded tale of one man’s lethal remedy for middle-age boredom.

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PRIVILEGE

A restless college educator finds himself in deep trouble after he commits murder in this suspense novel.

At 43, Danny Waite, a university film studies professor, has hit a wall in both his career and his personal life despite having a loving wife, Abbie, and a reliable best friend, Paul Vartan. This stifling stagnancy is most apparent in the classroom, where he ends lectures prematurely and doesn’t penalize lazy students for late assignments. He lacks motivation to shake things up and dejectedly contemplates the movie posters gracing his office walls as he resents his arrogant academic colleagues. In this brisk novel about the hazards of idle hands, debut author Carry carefully and coyly sets the stage for the unbridled mayhem to come. The stultified professor’s situation is irreversibly altered by the unexpected arrival of teaching assistant Stacy Mann, a bisexual, e-cigarette–smoking film-program undergrad who swoops in and upends everything in Danny’s life. Danny finds himself in Stacy’s apartment getting drunk and stoned until they get in a fight that becomes so violent that he strangles her to death. A foolproof coverup scheme has police convinced of his innocence, but when another student suspects foul play, Danny adds another corpse to his body count and “intractable situation.” Blatant infidelity also enters the plot, but it’s never fleshed out, as Danny has bigger situations to resolve. He ultimately turns out to be an expert at playing “the man with nothing to hide.” Over the course of this novel, Carry cleverly keeps things crisply detailed and moving at a brisk pace. Readers will find the story to be gripping from beginning to end as Danny struggles to get away with his crimes and further twists complicate matters. Carry has managed to produce a story that’s brief enough to finish in one rapt sitting, and it will be engrossing for classic film buffs, teachers, and other readers who appreciate protagonists who wade into the murkier waters of life.

A thoroughly entertaining, spring-loaded tale of one man’s lethal remedy for middle-age boredom.

Pub Date: May 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64663-036-3

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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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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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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