In a departure from his superlative police procedurals (Cold Bones, 2019, etc.), Mark produces a stand-alone psychological...

THE MAUSOLEUM

A lifetime of secrets is slowly revealed in this intricate look into past murders and present-day guilt.

October 1967 finds Cordelia Hemlock lonely and grief-stricken in the remote area of the Scottish borderlands hard by Hadrian’s Wall, mourning her young son who recently died. While lying in a cemetery one day, she’s approached by Felicity Goose, a local woman destined to become her lifelong friend. Cordelia and her rarely seen husband bought a house in the area where they were raising Cordelia's son, Stefan, the product of a short-lived university affair that could never end in marriage. Instead, Cordelia accepted an offer of support for Stefan and herself from a gay, highly placed government official who needed a wife for cover. The area residents’ dismissal of Cordelia as a snob has softened since she lost her child. Now, when a sudden storm catches the two women in the graveyard, a lightning strike fells a tree, destroying a small crypt and revealing not only ancient bones, but the body of a much newer corpse in a dark suit. Recovering in Felicity’s house, Cordelia meets a neighbor named Fairfax Duke, who agrees to go to the cemetery to see the body Felicity doesn’t want to admit exists. When Fairfax doesn't return to Felicity's house, it turns out that he's been killed in a car crash. The other body has disappeared, but the police ask no questions, so Cordelia finds a new purpose in life investigating what she assumes is a murder. Since the death of his son in World War II, Fairfax had never stopped asking questions and writing the stories of everyone in the area who would talk to him, and now he’s left a rich lode of information for Cordelia. Many of the people he interviewed are local, but some just never left the area after being released from a POW camp during World War II. As the story shifts from the 1960s to 2010, appalling secrets come to light, putting Cordelia in jeopardy while changing her life in unimaginable ways.

In a departure from his superlative police procedurals (Cold Bones, 2019, etc.), Mark produces a stand-alone psychological thriller, character-driven but with plenty of bizarre twists, that’s sure to please fans of Catriona McPherson.

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8872-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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