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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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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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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