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ARTIFICIAL WISDOM

A taut tale with a disturbingly plausible what-if scenario.

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A fast-paced speculative thriller set in a morally desolate near future.

It’s 2050, and renowned independent journalist Marcus Tully is in a bad place. In the decade since his beloved wife’s death in an unprecedented heat wave, he’s struggled to find peace. As the story opens, he’s swilling artisanal rum before throwing the glass at a projected image of news commentators; the disaster that killed his spouse has become politicized—an event that some pundits claim never happened, despite evident international suffering. However, Marcus, unlike most other victims, has the knowledge and resources to fight back against this perception. In the run-up to a worldwide election, a mysterious whistleblower appears in Marcus’ life, claiming he has information about Marcus’ wife’s death, as well as tangible proof of major political figures using dangerous tech to suppress the very constituents they’ve unhoused with irresponsible climate policies. And yet, the election that’s about to take place—filled, of course, with many of these same politicians—could be the last, best hope to prevent a climate apocalypse. As Marcus is drawn deeper into the darkness of a murder investigation, nothing is certain—not even his belief that his wife’s death was an accident. In this timely novel, Weaver seizes upon big-picture concerns of the real-world moment—including global warming, ethically bankrupt leadership, and the disintegration of trustworthy news sources—to create a vision of a future worth fearing. There’s also plenty of intriguing everyday tech scattered throughout—such as a sort of EpiPen that cures hangovers—that never seems far-fetched. The prose and dialogue aren’t particularly snappy, but readers inclined toward futuristic narratives about present-day issues will find this novel hard to put down.

A taut tale with a disturbingly plausible what-if scenario.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Chainmaker Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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