Green (The First 48, 2004, etc.) craftily attenuates the suspense and works some nice wrinkles into a familiar formula.

EXACT REVENGE

After almost 20 years in prison, an innocent man escapes to hunt down the cabal that framed him.

Quotes from The Count of Monte Cristo appropriately introduce the multiple sections of the story, which begins with the revelation that hero and narrator Raymond White is struggling to survive in upstate New York’s Auburn Prison. It then flashes back more than a decade, when the half–Native-American Raymond is a rising star in both his Syracuse law firm and the local Republican Party. His reclusive blue-collar dad doesn’t even have a phone and disdains Raymond’s affluent lifestyle but is grudgingly proud of his son’s achievements. Supported by a handful of youngish political power brokers—Bob Rangle, Paul Russo and Frank Steffano—Raymond preps to succeed ailing Syracuse Congressman Roger Williamson, a fellow Princeton alumnus. When Raymond visits Williamson, who’s linked to an IV, he reluctantly agrees to carry an envelope full of cash to Williamson’s mistress, Celeste Oliver. When he delivers it, Celeste offers herself to him, as Williamson’s successor. The moralistic Raymond, thinking also of beautiful, devoted fiancée Lexis, deflects the pass. Next day, Celeste is found murdered, and forensic evidence points to Raymond as the killer. In short order, he’s off the fast track to fame and on to prison. While there, Lexis marries Frank, who, Raymond learns, has strong links to organized crime. Frank and Lexis establish a glamorous life in Manhattan. Raymond, meanwhile, gets an education in survival and also in the deeper meaning of life from wise old inmate Lester. Much prison time is also given to plotting retribution. After 18 years, Raymond escapes, and radical plastic surgery allows him to get close to his quarry, while a compassionate new love named Helena smooths the transition into society and he implements his methodical revenge.

Green (The First 48, 2004, etc.) craftily attenuates the suspense and works some nice wrinkles into a familiar formula.

Pub Date: May 11, 2005

ISBN: 0-446-53145-6

Page Count: 356

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

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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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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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