A deliciously inventive thriller brimming with sex, secrets, and scandal.

THE GOLDEN CAGE

Faye Adelheim has it all—a wealthy, handsome husband, an expensive home, and a beautiful little girl. But when her fairy-tale life fractures, how far will she go to exact revenge?

Läckberg, the mistress of Scandinavian noir, returns with a smart riff on women’s thrillers: This is Big Little Lies meets Gone Girl with some 9 to 5 tossed in for good measure. Having grown up in a small town, Faye independently makes her way to Stockholm changes her name, and eventually secures a spot in the prestigious Stockholm School of Economics, where she meets her best friend, Chris, and her future husband, Jack. While Jack builds his first business (virtually forgetting that Faye helped come up with the idea for the company), Faye abandons her studies to support them by waiting tables. She even signs a prenuptial agreement that guarantees her nothing, trusting in Jack’s love. Once married, Faye stays home, her career essentially dead, but Jack’s thrives, emboldening him to insult and degrade her. And while Jack’s business takes him on glamorous trips, Faye finds herself killing time and numbing her pain by drinking with the other women caught in golden cages. That is, until she discovers Jack's affair; their divorce leaves her practically penniless. Despite her pitiful predicament, Faye isn’t entirely without resources. Certainly, she has Chris, who's founded her own hair-care empire and become a wildly successful businesswoman. She also has rage, and she quickly channels that rage into her business acumen, developing a plan not only to take down Jack, but also to market a product to jilted woman (and isn’t that nearly all women?). Yet as Faye begins dismantling Jack’s life, Läckberg deftly teases the reader by dropping clues to Faye’s dark past. We can’t help but wonder if she’s done this before.

A deliciously inventive thriller brimming with sex, secrets, and scandal.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65797-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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Gigantic, strange, exquisite, terrifying, and replete with mystery.

TO PARADISE

A triptych of stories set in 1893, 1993, and 2093 explore the fate of humanity, the essential power and sorrow of love, and the unique doom brought upon itself by the United States.

After the extraordinary reception of Yanagihara's Kirkus Prize–winning second novel, A Little Life (2015), her follow-up could not be more eagerly awaited. While it is nothing like either of her previous novels, it's also unlike anything else you've read (though Cloud Atlas, The House of Mirth, Martin and John, and Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy may all cross your mind at various points). More than 700 pages long, the book is composed of three sections, each a distinct narrative, each set in a counterfactual historical iteration of the place we call the United States. The narratives are connected by settings and themes: A house on Washington Square in Greenwich Village is central to each; Hawaii comes up often, most prominently in the second. The same names are used for (very different) characters in each story; almost all are gay and many are married. Even in the Edith Wharton–esque opening story, in which the scion of a wealthy family is caught between an arranged marriage and a reckless affair, both of his possible partners are men. Illness and disability are themes in each, most dramatically in the third, set in a brutally detailed post-pandemic totalitarian dystopia. Here is the single plot connection we could find: In the third part, a character remembers hearing a story with the plot of the first. She mourns the fact that she never did get to hear the end of it: "After all these years I found myself wondering what had happened....I knew it was foolish because they weren't even real people but I thought of them often. I wanted to know what had become of them." You will know just how she feels. But what does it mean that Yanagihara acknowledges this? That is just one of the conundrums sure to provoke years of discussion and theorizing. Another: Given the punch in the gut of utter despair one feels when all the most cherished elements of 19th- and 20th-century lives are unceremoniously swept off the stage when you turn the page to the 21st—why is the book not called To Hell?

Gigantic, strange, exquisite, terrifying, and replete with mystery.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-385-54793-2

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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