A fun and compelling time-travel thriller.

THE 13TH HOUR

CHAOS

In this time-travel sequel, a man gets another chance to save his wife’s life.

Three years ago, Nick Quinn was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to save his wife, Julia, from certain death, a nightmarish time-traveling experience that only he remembers. But now it happens again as he witnesses his beloved Julia—and many others—die after a horrific terrorist attack during the Fourth of July weekend celebrations. As the bodies pile up, a dying friend hands him the antique pocket watch that doubles as a time-traveling gadget, and Nick has a new shot at saving Julia and preventing a terrible disaster from happening. But just like before, the time-traveling rules are less than straightforward. Nick has only 12 hours to fix things, but in reverse and one hour at a time. There are no do-overs once the watch stops after the 12-hour period. As Nick desperately attempts to save Julia over and over again, hour after hour, events spiral out of control, and it soon becomes clear that there is more at stake than his wife’s life. There’s a sinister plot that could engender worldwide political consequences. Nick discovers that there is a second watch and another time traveler following in his tracks, but whether he is friend or foe remains to be seen. This stand-alone sequel to Doetsch’s The 13th Hour (2015) is a time-travel thriller told in reverse, starting with the final chapter and going backward. As the story progresses (or rather, regresses), the taut, well-conceived plot unravels and reforms with twisty surprises and elements of politics, revenge, and Machiavellian villainy. While the time-traveling mechanism remains entirely unexplained and Nick often comes across as a one-note character (“Please help me save my wife”), the story truly excels with its engaging, nonstop pursuit of the truth. No one can be trusted in this genuinely intriguing whodunit. The narrative hops between Nick and Julia as well as a few other characters whose importance to the story varies depending on the roles they ultimately play.  

A fun and compelling time-travel thriller.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63758-306-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Permuted Press

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A weird, wild ride.

THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A unique story of transcendent love.

LAYLA

An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more