An engaging thriller featuring rounded characters and a variety of locales.

READ REVIEW

OPERATION ARGUS

MASKIROVKA: ARE YOU READY FOR THE TRUTH?

While investigating the murder of one of their own, former members of a British Special Forces unit untangle an international web of crime and corruption in Mitchell’s debut novel.

In 2016, tragedy reunites a handful of men who once served together in the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment. Bob in West Africa, Sam in the United Kingdom, and others join Mitch in California to attend the funeral of their fallen comrade, Paul, who allegedly died of a heart attack. Mitch suspects that Paul was murdered, and an autopsy reveals signs “some sort of lethal injection.” Then another retired SAS operative dies under identical circumstances. Paul had been working with the CIA on an election-rigging investigation that began in Thailand and later expanded to other countries, including the United States. The men start their own investigation with Irish mob boss Tommy Boyle, whom they think they saw at Paul’s funeral. However, their interrogation of Boyle only leads to further complications, as they discover an inexplicable connection between members of the Irish mob and various Russians and Colombians. Unraveling the conspiracy entails globe-trotting and gunfights, and one of the former operatives turns out to have a surprise association with the criminals they’re investigating. Mitchell’s taut narrative skillfully juggles its many characters by introducing them individually in their respective countries before taking them all to America. Although the book has its share of action scenes, it’s primarily about investigation and espionage. The vigorous plot keeps things lively by intermittently splitting up the SAS team—Mitch and Mac question Boyle, for instance, while Jimmy travels to Lithuania solo to follow another lead. Certain characters are shrouded in mystery, such as Nikita, a male friend of Mitch’s daughter; and Conrad Yee, aka “the Dog,” “the most expensive assassin on the planet.” Although there are some casualties, other characters’ fates are left up in the air, allowing them to return in a future installment.

An engaging thriller featuring rounded characters and a variety of locales.

Pub Date: May 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5320-4771-8

Page Count: 334

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more