Characters shoot their way through an entertaining script right to a conclusion with a hole in it.

NYPD RED

Patterson (Kill Alex Cross, 2011, etc.), here with co-writer Karp, moves to the posh confines of the Big Apple’s Upper East Side as he delves into crimes against the tabloid-dwelling rich and famous. 

Detective Zach Jordan is all about Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect, the new motto of the NYPD. That's handy when he and his new partner are dispatched to a posh hotel to investigate the death of a studio honcho in town for “Hollywood on the Hudson,” an event designed to steal movie business from Los Angeles. Jordan’s new partner, and old girlfriend, is Kylie MacDonald, now married to a successful show-business producer. One dead film mogul is only the beginning. Next on the hit list is a skirt-chasing married actor dead from two fatal rounds from a prop gun supposedly loaded with blanks. The Tinseltown movers and shakers who have descended on Gotham have become targets for the Chameleon, a frustrated working stiff actor who spends his time among the scenery as an extra. But the Chameleon has a talent for makeup and special effects and a sociopath sycophant girlfriend to assist. Via her producer husband, K-Mac knows everyone who’s anyone, and she can don evening wear and mingle where cops aren’t readily visible. That means she’s on the red carpet when the Chameleon’s next victim, vodka-swilling bad boy Brad Schuck, is torched by a Molotov cocktail lobbed into his Hummer limo. With the publicity-conscious mayor leaning hard on Jordan’s boss, a clone of Lt. Van Buren on Law and Order, there are round-the-clock shifts at the 19th Precinct, leaving little time for Jordan to go one-on-one at Gerri’s Diner with his possible new flame, department shrink Cheryl Robinson. First, he has to team up again with MacDonald to save her husband and second, foil the Chameleon’s plot to send a hundred Hollywood types to never-never land with big chunks of C-4. 

Characters shoot their way through an entertaining script right to a conclusion with a hole in it.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-19986-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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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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