An exhilarating thriller; Clive Cussler fans will find that Peter Case floats their boat.

ICE BRINE

A PETER CASE NOVEL

A diving pro and part owner of a Canadian undersea salvage company tangles with international criminals and multiple intelligence agencies.

In Eshleman’s second installment of a thriller series, Peter Case returns home to Canada after completing his doctorate in zoology in Jamaica, where he also got involved in an international conspiracy with a CIA connection. Now, he and his buddy Hal operate their maritime salvage business out of a former fish factory that is half a kilometer up the inlet from the vacation cabin of redheaded widow Kathleen and her precocious young daughter, Amy. Case, a swaggering, 6-foot-3-inch (in cowboy boots), sculpted-thighed, deep-chested, long-haired heavy smoker, is smitten with Kathleen, but imminent danger demands more of his attention. On a mission to kill him are crime ring members he encountered in Jamaica, a pair of whom Case outmaneuvers on a twisty mountain road. Humor adds flavor to the story; for example, when examining a sunken wreck, Case encounters a shark that turns out to be a dead specimen Hal released in the ship to freak out his friend (mission accomplished). Car chases, kidnappings, fights, killings, and proposed torture, such as a “foot tenderized with a ball-peen hammer,” saturate the book. Case is so cocky and so often in danger that someone says to him, “Everyone you meet seems to want you dead. I believe I’m beginning to understand why.” Case’s mind whirls as he realizes some of the players—“CIA, CSIS, MI6, KGB”—in the crime drama surrounding him. The backstory of the Jamaica escapade is revealed organically, as is Case’s past as a bullied, chubby kid who transformed his body and built his confidence by engaging in martial arts and weight training. Underwater sequences are handled particularly well, and scenes of the stunning Rockies are travelogue perfect. But Kathleen’s inability to keep tabs on her daughter is bothersome, and the spunky kid often comes off as more annoying than charming (remember what Lou Grant said about spunk).

An exhilarating thriller; Clive Cussler fans will find that Peter Case floats their boat.

Pub Date: May 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-03-914810-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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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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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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