Fans of Indiana Jones movies and Dan Brown novels will enjoy this one.

BONE CHASE

A thriller that dips into ancient myths, folklore, and the Old Testament to tell about a race to find giants.

Ethan McCloud is a laid-off math teacher from Nebraska whose dad asks if he’s seen a six-fingered man. Dad is then killed either by an aneurism or by the Six-Fingered Man, and either way, “Burying a father sucks.” Father leaves behind a video urging his son to search for giants because “you think critically and base your answers on provable facts.” Ethan tells his girlfriend, Shanny, that he has “information about how no shit real giants exist.” Indeed, he’s shown a picture of a skeleton, “a living, breathing, human-shaped thing, seventy-five feet tall.” But searching is a dangerous business. People die after discovering giant bones because “They just knew too much.” There are many biblical references to giants which Ethan considers to be evidence. He muses, what if we descended from giants instead of from apes? “This isn’t just a race to find giants,” Shanny declares. “It’s a race to find God.” The story moves along reasonably well, with the usual threats, like the girlfriend being in mortal danger. But the pacing hits a speed bump when Ethan brings up an abstruse mathematical concept called the Hodge Conjecture in painful detail and fails to show its relevance. And while the writing and storytelling are entertaining, the author’s metaphors just work too hard. “The distance to the trailer was a rheostat of fear.” A man’s “mouth slammed into a frown.” “Butterflies scythed through Ethan.” And “his mind filled with ants who were busy rebuilding the possible futures.” The best exchange, though: “I thought you were dead.” “I got better.”

Fans of Indiana Jones movies and Dan Brown novels will enjoy this one.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5009-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Saga/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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