CRADLE AND ALL

Warn the fans: this isn't a new Alex Cross psychokiller foray (Pop Goes the Weasel, 1999, etc.), but instead a rewritten and retitled version of Virgin, Patterson's apocalyptic 1980 horror novel. At the French shrine of Lourdes in 1917, three children delivered a prophecy from the Virgin Mary: At some point in the future, two girls will experience near-simultaneous immaculate conceptions; one will give birth to a new Savior; the other will bring the Antichrist into the world. Now, in an undated present, with strange new plagues and catastrophes filling the news every day, and the Pope dying of a horrible virus, private detective Anne Fitzgerald is abruptly hired by Boston's Cardinal Rooney to keep an eye on young Kathleen Beavier, a spoiled, trash-talking (but virginal) rich kid. Kathleen's attempt to get an abortion is stymied when she finds her doctor’s bleeding corpse hanging from a hook in a South Boston clinic. Since then she's been hearing nasty voices and believes she's being watched by animals. An ex-cop with a Harvard psychology degree, Fitzgerald is also a former nun who left the order after falling in love with a priest. Though that love affair was never consummated, fate will reunite Fitzgerald with good-looking Father Justin O'Carroll. Meanwhile, in an Irish village, poor but pure Colleen Deirdre Galaher is getting dirty looks from the nuns at her Catholic boarding school. Sent from Rome to investigate, Father Nicholas Rosetti, the Vatican's international expert on miracles, finds himself aroused by the sight of the girl. Could this have anything to do with the inexplicable fainting spells he suffered in Rome only days ago? And what about that nasty voice that reviles him in his dreams? One can only hope that the ridiculous, cliff-hanging finale’s promise of a sequel will never be fulfilled. Post-Exorcist horror clichés, updated with a handful of contemporary references.

Pub Date: May 22, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69061-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2000

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THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS

These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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Reading anything by Slaughter is like riding a particularly scary amusement park ride. Reading this one is like booking a...

PIECES OF HER

A plain-Jane daughter’s 31st birthday celebration explodes into a nightmare within a nightmare in Slaughter’s latest stand-alone.

Andrea Oliver’s always felt inferior to her parents. Her father, Gordon Oliver, is a trusts and estates attorney; her mother, Dr. Laura Oliver, is a speech therapist. Andy herself has never aspired to any career goal higher than serving as an assistant to someone important. Even when she left Belle Isle, Georgia, for the Big Apple, she got nowhere, and she was only too eager to return home when her mother announced three years ago that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. As the two women mark Andy’s birthday by sharing lunch in a mall cafe, a crazed shooter opens fire on a mother-and-daughter pair who’ve stopped to greet Laura, and Andy’s life changes in an instant. Or rather two instants, the first when the shots ring out and the second when Laura, after inviting the killer to shoot her next, coolly and dispassionately dispatches him. It takes the dazed Andy hours to realize that her mother’s not at all who she seems to be, and by the time she’s ready to accept the fact that Laura Oliver is a woman with a past, that past is already racing to catch up with both mother and daughter. Cutting back and forth between Andy’s harrowing flight to nowhere after Laura pushes her out of her home and a backstory 30 years earlier involving the Army of the Changing World, a cell of amateur terrorists determined to strike a mortal blow against greedy capitalists and, it eventually turns out, each other as well, Slaughter (The Good Daughter, 2017, etc.) never abates her trademark intensity, and fans will feel that the story is pumping adrenalin directly into their bloodstreams. Long before the end, though, the impostures, secret identities, hidden motives, and double-crosses will have piled up past the point of no return, leaving the tale to run on adrenalin alone.

Reading anything by Slaughter is like riding a particularly scary amusement park ride. Reading this one is like booking a season ticket on a ride that never lets you off.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-243027-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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