TOUCHED

Fast-moving action and jaw-dropping twists move this slim volume along at a dizzying rate.

An unsuspecting host finds himself at the center of a supernatural plot to eradicate life from the planet.

Rattled awake from a disorienting slumber—and apparently unaware of his own nudity and physical arousal—mild-mannered Black family man Marty Just wanders onto his balcony, the elaborate details of an intergalactic plan to end life on Earth seared into his mind. “Mama, look!” a neighbor child cries, and from that moment, Marty's week only gets weirder: He's arrested for public indecency; kills his vile, racist cellmate in a fugue state of self-defense; posts bail and returns home, only to encounter Aryan gang members ready to avenge their murdered leader. Until this point, the question of whether Marty has suffered a psychotic break or schizophrenic episode is unresolved, but then something inside Marty—an entity called Temple—takes over, attacking the racist thugs with his teeth, biting and tearing the life out of them in a marvelously frenzied action sequence. As it turns out, not only can Temple summon inhuman strength, he can resurrect the dead (!), and he recruits the formerly lifeless racists to help him prevent the encroaching genocide, personified by Tor Waxman, the Angel of Death. Equal parts body horror and necromancy, the book has cinematic fast cuts and an explosive pace that make it read like a Black Mirror episode set against the Hollywood Hills. While a subplot about Marty's pending legal woes adds little to the excitement (it wouldn't be Mosley without sharp-tongued lawyers and pushy cops), the novel is complicated in compelling ways by the racial dynamics and overt gestures toward a pandemic, as Tor Waxman spreads feverish death via unseen contagion to nearly 5,000 souls.

Fast-moving action and jaw-dropping twists move this slim volume along at a dizzying rate.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9780802161840

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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DEVOLUTION

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

PROPHET SONG

Captivating, frightening, and a singular achievement.

As Ireland devolves into a brutal police state, one woman tries to preserve her family in this stark fable.

For Eilish Stack, a molecular biologist living with her husband and four children in Dublin, life changes all at once and then slowly worsens beyond imagining. Two men appear at her door one night, agents of the new secret police, seeking her husband, Larry, a union official. Soon he is detained under the Emergency Powers Act recently pushed through by the new ruling party, and she cannot contact him. Eilish sees things shifting at work to those backing the ruling party. The state takes control of the press, the judiciary. Her oldest son receives a summons to military duty for the regime, and she tries to send him to Northern Ireland. He elects to join the rebel forces and soon she cannot contact him, either. His name and address appear in a newspaper ad listing people dodging military service. Eilish is coping with her father’s growing dementia, her teenage daughter’s depression, the vandalizing of her car and house. Then war comes to Dublin as the rebel forces close in on the city. Offered a chance to flee the country by her sister in Canada, Eilish can’t abandon hope for her husband’s and son’s returns. Lynch makes every step of this near-future nightmare as plausible as it is horrific by tightly focusing on Eilish, a smart, concerned woman facing terrible choices and losses. An exceptionally gifted writer, Lynch brings a compelling lyricism to her fears and despair while he marshals the details marking the collapse of democracy and the norms of daily life. His tonal control, psychological acuity, empathy, and bleakness recall Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006). And Eilish, his strong, resourceful, complete heroine, recalls the title character of Lynch’s excellent Irish-famine novel, Grace (2017).

Captivating, frightening, and a singular achievement.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780802163011

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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