A moving, grippingly relevant mystery.

THE RECRUIT

Young neo-Nazis in Rancho Santa Elena, a quiet Southern California town, conduct a campaign of hate crimes against minorities, leading police detective Ben Wade to uncover a widespread White supremacist conspiracy.

Set in 1987, this thriller focuses on Jacob, a 14-year-old boy who’s recruited into a gang of skinheads by his 20-something neighbor Ian after Ian sees him testing out homemade pipe bombs in his backyard. Ian, the son of a corrupt councilman whose eldest son was killed in Vietnam, has terrorized a Vietnamese shop owner named Bao Phan and his family by leaving a fatally poisoned, throat-slit dog by their back door. Jacob, the abused son of a traumatized Vietnam veteran, is officially inducted as a skinhead after being pressured to brutally attack Mexican migrant workers. Shocked to discover his father is having an affair with a young Vietnamese woman—Bao’s 22-year-old daughter, Linh—Jacob is overcome with rage. Meanwhile, having left the LAPD, worn down by gang wars in that city, Wade is surprised to confront an even worse form of violence in Rancho Santa Elena. In Los Angeles, there was a logic to the gang wars, which were over drugs, territory, and money. “This is just hate,” he says. “Nothing rational about it.” Though set in the past, at a time when the internet was first enabling hate groups opposed to the very existence of the federal government to link up via online bulletin boards, Drew’s sequel to Shadow Man (2017) could hardly speak more powerfully to the present moment in the United States. A terrific crime novel with an explosive climax, the book dares to find a level of empathy with its young perpetrators, connecting the dots between being frightened and “walking around in the dark” and turning to hate.

A moving, grippingly relevant mystery.

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-399-59212-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

ONE STEP TOO FAR

Frankie Elkin, a miraculous finder of missing persons, seeks a man who wandered into the wilderness and was never seen again.

Last seen rescuing a missing teenager from the gritty streets of Boston, Frankie embarks from a bus in Ramsey, Wyoming, drawn in by the story of hiker Timothy O’Day, who's been missing for five years, and the last-gasp efforts of his father, Martin, to search for his remains. Frankie has some regrets about leaving Boston, but she's called to find those others have given up on. She manages to finagle her way on to the search party, which in addition to Martin includes a local guide; a search-and-rescue dog and her handler; a Bigfoot expert; and Tim’s friends, who were in the woods with him when he went missing. In the years since, they’ve moved on with their lives, but they are carrying guilt and secrets about the night Tim disappeared. As they all head into the unforgiving wilderness, it quickly becomes apparent that someone is deeply threatened by this effort to find Tim’s body. As she endeavors to draw the truth from each member of the search party, Frankie can tell that she's in over her head, and not only because she’s an inexperienced outdoorswoman. Could Tim still be alive and looking for revenge, or is there a more dangerous secret that someone would kill to protect? Gardner is incredibly skilled at developing tension and suspense; she’s equally skilled at slowly revealing complex characters and their secrets. Both gifts reinforce each other in this novel. If Frankie is out of her element, so are we: It’s not often that a thriller so deeply casts us into the darkness of both nature and the human heart.

Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18541-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Colorful characters and solid plotting continue to make this series a pleasure.

ROBERT LUDLUM'S THE BOURNE SACRIFICE

Jason Bourne confronts a strange and frightening enemy in the latest entry in the series created by Ludlum and written by Freeman.

Let's face it, Bourne is never going to learn the secrets of his past. In this latest episode, he reunites with Canadian journalist Abbey Laurent, who plays a key part in this fast-moving thriller. He had left her behind two years earlier because “when you're with me, you're in danger….I'm a killer.” For her part, she is known in her profession as “one of the few people who calls out the bullshit on both sides.” A woman is stabbed to death near the Potomac, and Abbey wants to know why. The killing is the work of the Pyramid, a secretive organization that ostensibly fights lies and misinformation around the world but does so with lies of its own. She asks too many questions about the murder and runs afoul of the organization, which ruins her career by planting false stories about her on social media. But worse, the Pyramid wants her dead. “It doesn't matter what's true and what’s a lie,” she’s told. In Iceland, Bourne silently awaits his prey, an evil dude named Lennon who enjoys sharing a surname with the late Beatle, so much so that he even has an evil girlfriend named Yoko. Hero and villain meet several times, each missing or simply passing up chances to kill the other, apparently because they'd rather talk than pull the trigger. As fans know, Bourne has lost all memory of his life before being shot in the head. The CIA doesn’t want him to learn of his past, which is the mystery that drives the series. Meanwhile, he’s a loner by necessity, because “nothing gets you killed faster than trust.” There are odd coincidences, such as Bourne and Abbey meeting again and the hero and the bad guy meeting again and again, but readers won’t mind. Can Abbey Laurent get her life back? Or even survive? Will she have sex with Jason Bourne?

Colorful characters and solid plotting continue to make this series a pleasure.

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-41985-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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