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

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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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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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A well-turned, if predictable, installment in the popular series.


With the United States the “closest [it’s] been to war” in a lifetime, intelligence operative Jack Ryan Jr. faces stiff odds in trying to avert disaster with China.

Trouble with China begins brewing (yet again in the Clancy books) with the rendition of a Chinese scientist and the killing of his American brother, a specialist in machine learning. With a sniper attack on the German outpost of The Campus, Ryan’s “off-the-books” agency, and the downing of an American plane over the South China Sea, U.S. efforts to recover a Chinese undersea glider capable of detecting a $3 billion American stealth submarine are in jeopardy. Things look especially grim with the capture of crash survivor John Clark, Ryan’s boss and a close compadre of his father, President Jack Ryan Sr. With Ryan Sr. still shaken by the abduction of his wife a year ago and Ryan Jr. doubtful of his abilities as a team leader, it's up to intelligence director Mary Pat Foley to calm the waters with her expertise and strong will. One possible outcome is a Chinese attack on Taiwan. In Bentley’s third outing in the series, it takes a while to get past cookie cutter stuff: Many pages go by before the reader knows what all the tense language, chase scenes, and international travel are about. But the book's cool, checkerboard efficiency eventually takes hold. And the streaks of vulnerability that run through the Ryans impart a human dimension that most such thrillers lack. Bentley also takes pains to distinguish the novel from fake fiction: “Unlike in the movies, getting struck by a rifle round moving at several thousand feet per second was not insignificant.”

A well-turned, if predictable, installment in the popular series.

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9780593422786

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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