G-fans will not be disappointed.

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From the Clandestine Operations series , Vol. 1

Opening his Clandestine Operations series, Griffin (Empire and Honor, 2012, etc.) drafts warriors from his Honor Bound series to confront post–World War II communist aggression. 

It’s late 1945. Army Lt. James Cronley, scion of a Texas ranching family, has played a significant role in frustrating die-hard Nazi attempts to cache bomb-grade uranium in Argentina. By direct order of President Harry S. Truman, Cronley’s promoted to captain for his exploits. He returns to Germany and his Army assignment at a Counterintelligence Corps project wringing intel out of "good German" remnants of Abwehr Ost, an intelligence unit that developed critical information about the Soviet Union. Cronley’s soon trapped in a bureaucratic knife fight among veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (covert operations warriors), CIC loyalists, other Army units and the FBI. Set mostly at an isolated and abandoned Bavarian monastery and elsewhere in Germany, the narrative’s ripe with meetings, confrontations, lies and subterfuge rather than gunplay. The dialogue is standard Griffin sarcasm and one-upmanship, driving a plot which requires getting a captured Russian agent from the Abwehr Ost camp to Argentina. Back in the U.S., Cronley elopes with a young American woman he met during his Argentine expedition, but his bride is killed in a car wreck a day later. Less than a week later, he sleeps with a colonel’s wife, and it becomes clear that Griffin’s male-female interactions will be sex rather than romance. The Griffin style remains immutable: short chapters, macho attitudes, stiff upper lip when threatened, no-sweat heroics, much love for military equipment and weaponry and protocol. That familiarity makes the occasional minor error more notable, and it makes one good-guy escape from the hangman problematic. In keeping with Clandestine Operations' raison d’être, Griffin’s sketch of the immediate post–WWII bureaucratic territorial clashes has purpose; it’s an outline of how the demobilized OSS hot-war heroes became passionate CIA cold warriors.

G-fans will not be disappointed.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-17123-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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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

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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

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