A zigzagging tale reinforced by a striking and complicated protagonist.


A former criminal lawyer, seeking vengeance against the man she believes is responsible for her sister’s suicide, gets entangled with dangerous culprits in this thriller.

Oregonian Angeline Porter is visiting Paris, but she’s not there for sightseeing or romance. The ex-attorney is hunting Gerard Duvernet, the married Frenchman who had an affair with her sister, Sophie. She blames him for Sophie’s tragic decision to kill herself as well as the unborn child Angeline assumes was Gerard’s. Under the pretense that she’s journalist Helen Craig, Angeline plans to murder him with poison, but the charismatic Frenchman isn’t the monster she anticipated. Moreover, after finally deciphering Sophie’s laptop and cellphone passcodes, she discovers startling new information that could change everything. Back home, Angeline’s chemical engineer husband, Hank, suffers a debilitating injury. To cover the costly treatment, Angeline goes to great, potentially immoral lengths. Unfortunately, certain individuals linked to Sophie and Gerard eventually track her down, thinking she, for starters, has access to a sizable bank account. Before long, Angeline finds herself immersed in a whirlwind of deceit, theft, blackmail, and worse. Murder may soon even prove a necessity, though not out of a sense of retribution, but rather mere self-preservation. Brooks’ (A Killing in Kauai, 2018, etc.) book, compiling a trilogy of preceding novellas featuring Angeline, is filled with genuinely surprising plot turns. What’s on Sophie’s cellphone, for example, takes the story in an entirely new direction. But it’s the protagonist who will astonish readers the most. Angeline is ethically ambivalent: A rapist client at her old law firm receives due punishment courtesy of her illicit deed. She nevertheless remains appealing throughout, as she readily acknowledges her flaws. Bolstering those traits is Angeline’s frank and distinctive first-person narration: “Somehow, I’ve now turned into an observer of my life, the emotions sitting deep inside me like a vault.” The work concludes with an exposition-heavy wrap-up that’s likewise absorbing and logically sound.

A zigzagging tale reinforced by a striking and complicated protagonist.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018


Page Count: 262

Publisher: Black Leather Jacket Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2018

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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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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