A serviceable thriller with plenty of satisfying action.

ENEMY AT THE GATES

Mitch Rapp protects the world’s richest man and faces down a psychopath in his 20th adventure.

The CIA asks Rapp to protect Nicholas Ward, the first trillionaire ever, who has big plans for improving the planet. In the coming decades, Ward’s technologies will help make Saudi oil worthless. And with Dr. David Chism, he hopes to transform health care worldwide. In a lab in Uganda, Chism is working on creating a single vaccine that could wipe out the entire coronavirus category: no Covid-19, no SARS, no colds. These damn do-gooders are unquestionably an existential threat to the general world order, and the Saudis want them gone. Ruthless U.S. President Anthony Cook is down with that. “The human race can’t absorb that many fundamental changes all at once,” he opines. So the Saudis, with secret encouragement from Cook, hire the crazed warlord Gideon Auma, aka God’s representative on Earth, to neutralize David Chism and stop the research. “Bullets can’t harm me,” Auma brags, and his followers believe him. Soon Chism’s research facility in Uganda is a pile of ashes, and Auma even sees a chance to kidnap Ward, who’d funded the lab. But Ward didn’t make a trillion dollars by just giving up when things turn ugly. President Cook is angry that Rapp is interfering, saving lives and stuff. Indeed, the first lady calls Rapp “the guy every man wants to be.” He lives in South Africa these days, but his loyalty to his homeland is steadfast. When a Saudi considers torturing the hero, he asks, “Do you know your weakness, Mitch?…It’s your unwavering belief in America.” That’s wrong, of course, because Rapp has no obvious weaknesses. Even so, he and his protectees have many powerful and capable enemies. He’s not the edgiest protagonist ever, but he’s hard to kill and easy to root for.

A serviceable thriller with plenty of satisfying action.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9821-6488-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Emily Bestler/Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 75

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more