A zigzagging tale reinforced by a striking and complicated protagonist.

READ REVIEW

REVENGE IN 3 PARTS

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Black Leather Jacket Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more