Fast-moving, fun, and not overly deep. But if the U.S. has a real-life version of Flynn and Mills' hero, that could be scary.

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ENEMY OF THE STATE

In the 16th installment of the series started by the late Flynn, author Mills (Order to Kill, 2016, etc.) continues CIA agent Mitch Rapp’s deadly derring-dos.

Fondly recalling the 9/11 attacks, Prince Talal bin Musaid believes that “America was a wounded animal. And he had become the lion.” Meaning, of course, he doesn’t know Mitch Rapp, who has killed so many bad guys it’s a wonder there are any left in the world. The prince is the Saudi Arabian king’s nephew, and he plans to help finance a large-scale Islamic State group attack inside the United States. Meanwhile, Rapp and his lady friend, Claudia, take an extended vacation so he can mend old wounds, but he soon decides that “having a life was a monumental pain in the ass.” When he returns, U.S. President Alexander summons him to say he wants bin Musaid dead but that if Rapp is caught, he’s on his own. So he goes from “the extreme edges of the U.S. intelligence apparatus” to “beyond black.” He resigns from his CIA team and blames injuries from his last op, but then he starts his own rogue group. For $1 he hires Grisha Azarov, an ex–Russian agent whom series fans will recognize as “the most dangerous opponent [Rapp had] ever faced.” And never mind that Azarov had nearly killed Rapp’s CIA boss, Scott Coleman. Hey, it’s nothing personal—they’re all just killers with a job to do, and each “could be as good a friend as…deadly an enemy.” The action is nearly nonstop as the body count builds. Oddly, an Iraqi colonel thinks the “natural state of humanity was chaos,” and America was simply holding it at bay. A lily-livered reader might see an automatic weapon as a curious tool for staving off chaos, but said reader won’t be following this series anyway.

Fast-moving, fun, and not overly deep. But if the U.S. has a real-life version of Flynn and Mills' hero, that could be scary.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8351-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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

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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

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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