Simplistic in its pitting of good vs. evil but of interest to readers intrigued by popular Christian views put up against...

A Walk Through Heaven & Hell

The third volume in Carey’s (A Walk Through the Mall, 2011) Flaming Sword series sees a mix of humans and angels in battle against the forces of Satan.

It is 2010, and Wyatt Hunter, a Christian author in his mid-40s, is excited but cautious to promote his book on a public access station in Boston, where he’ll share the stage with a potentially hostile atheist author. Coaching him in advance is the jovial, golf-loving angel Mick, who stresses the importance of defending Wyatt’s faith with useful biblical passages. Meanwhile, Wyatt’s twin brother, Caleb, is involved in a very different pursuit: Leading a group of Satanists who practice their dark arts in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Caleb strives to undo everything Wyatt believes. After Wyatt is unexpectedly attacked after his TV appearance, he finds himself in a spiritual realm discussing not only his own future but the future of others, particularly his brother’s evil plan to fill the world with the spawn of Satan. Will Caleb succeed in creating a nation of Satan’s disciples? Interspersed with moments in heaven (where events occur such as finding one’s “bag of popcorn was absolutely perfect—with no unpopped kernels”), satanic sacrifices, biblical passages and bubbly young Christians who refer to each other as “dude,” the book maintains a bouncy, light feel even in times of violence and distress. Readers who view surrender to Jesus Christ as essential and the need for a creator as absolute will find much to relish in the heroic tale of Wyatt and his associates. Though good guys tend to be really good (succumbing to the temptation of a cigarette every now and again) and the bad guys tend to be really bad (murdering innocents out of a love of their dark lord), the story moves at a steady pace for readers intrigued by down-home angels and a heaven where baseball not only exists but is occasionally played by Jesus himself.

Simplistic in its pitting of good vs. evil but of interest to readers intrigued by popular Christian views put up against Nazi-sympathizing Satanists.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1462733712

Page Count: 410

Publisher: CrossBooks

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller


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.


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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