Ultragruesome murders are no match for a trio of detectives in this standout thriller.


A vicious serial killer terrorizes Manhattan, bent on avenging an abusive past.

In this third entry of a thriller series, after Bone Thief (2006) and The Screaming Room (2007), New York author O’Callaghan introduces his most heinous killer yet: a psychotic mortician with a vendetta against Manhattan sex workers. Right from the opening pages, Tilden Quinn is already at work embalming his latest victim inside a mortuary. After the bloodless corpse is discovered floating in the East River, other bodies begin popping up all across New York City. Homicide Lt. John Driscoll dutifully snaps into action to lead an investigation that swiftly blooms with each horrific victim Tilden mutilates. As both a childhood and adult victim of abuse, Tilden is on the loose exacting his hate-filled rage against sex workers, particularly after an encounter that left him sodomized so severely he was hospitalized. To the killer, these women wrongfully “chose a life of immorality” and must be thoroughly cleansed by way of exsanguination. As Driscoll delves deeper into the case, the tall, intimidating detective continues to wrestle with a sorrowful past that includes the death of his mother when he was a boy and the loss of his teenage daughter to a drunk driver. The accident sent his wife into a coma. Just as torturous is Tilden’s own history, which the author teases out over the course of the novel. That backstory describes him as a boy being physically abused by his sex-worker mother’s live-in john. Driscoll, ably assisted by tough Sgt. Margaret Aligante, a childhood victim of abuse, and Detective Cedric Thomlinson, who is covertly battling a burgeoning alcohol dependency, begins amassing clues. The team investigates suspects in a new string of church-related slaughters and interviews prospective leads, no matter how unsavory they may be, including a porn producer specializing in simulated snuff films. Themes of matricide, religious atonement, arson, and even cannibalism all conspire to create a heady stew of intrigue, crime drama, and thrilling police procedural. In Tilden, O’Callaghan has impressively molded a nefarious sociopathic maniac whose barbaric childhood roots hold the key to his murderous motivation. Not for the faint of heart, this novel is perhaps the most accomplished of the series with its chilling forensics, riveting suspense sequences, grisly details, and a diabolical villain who’s wholly consumed by merciless revenge.

Ultragruesome murders are no match for a trio of detectives in this standout thriller.

Pub Date: May 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-952225-14-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: WildBlue Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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
  • 59

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


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?

Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.


An old-fashioned gumshoe yarn about Hollywood dreams and dead bodies.

Private investigator Aloysius Archer celebrates New Year’s Eve 1952 in LA with his gorgeous lady friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb shows up and offers to hire him because “someone might be trying to kill me.” “I’m fifty a day plus expenses,” he replies, but money’s no obstacle. Later, he sneaks into Lamb’s house and stumbles upon a body, then gets knocked out by an unseen assailant. Archer takes plenty of physical abuse in the story, but at least he doesn’t get a bullet between the eyes like the guy he trips over. A 30-year-old World War II combat veteran, Archer is a righteous and brave hero. Luck and grit keep him alive in both Vegas and the City of Angels, which is rife with gangsters and crooked cops. Not rich at all, his one luxury is the blood-red 1939 Delahaye he likes to drive with the top down. He’d bought it with his gambling winnings in Reno, and only a bullet hole in the windscreen post mars its perfection. Liberty loves Archer, but will she put up with the daily danger of losing him? Why doesn’t he get a safe job, maybe playing one of LA’s finest on the hit TV show Dragnet? Instead, he’s a tough and principled idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Either that or he’s simply a “pavement-pounding PI on a slow dance to maybe nowhere.” And if some goon doesn’t do him in sooner, his Lucky Strikes will probably do him in later. Baldacci paints a vivid picture of the not-so-distant era when everybody smoked, Joe McCarthy hunted commies, and Marilyn Monroe stirred men’s loins. The 1950s weren’t the fabled good old days, but they’re fodder for gritty crime stories of high ideals and lowlifes, of longing and disappointment, and all the trouble a PI can handle.

Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1977-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?