A pleasure for Grisham fans and an undemanding addition to the beach bag.

CAMINO WINDS

A tempest is bearing down, and murder most foul is afoot in Grisham’s latest whodunit.

Call it a metamystery: Grisham, prolific producer of courtroom thrillers, moves the action to a Florida resort island populated by mystery writers. In the wake of a ravaging hurricane, one of them turns up dead—a nice, affable fellow named Nelson Kerr, a former trial lawyer who “ratted out a client, a defense contractor who was illegally selling high-tech military stuff to the Iranians and North Koreans.” It’s not hard to understand that the client might want Kerr dead. But then, so would others whom Kerr has written about, including money launderers and—well, let’s just say other entrepreneurs who wouldn’t like their activities to be described in any detail. Enter bookstore owner Bruce Cable, friend, drinking buddy, and sometime editor and adviser of Kerr and other members of Camino Island’s literary crowd, including “an ex-con who’d served time in a federal pen for sins that were still vague.” Cable is perhaps Grisham’s least sympathetic hero; he drinks night and day, sleeps around, and has few apparent scruples. At least he’s not a lawyer. Neither is he a cop, though he’s quicker on the scene than the island’s homicide investigator—“I didn’t know we had a homicide guy,” Bruce allows, since murder is rare in these parts. That leaves it to him, an intern, a girlfriend, and assorted other players to piece together what happened to the unfortunate Mr. Kerr, who, it must be said, is dispatched in a way nicely in keeping with Floridian lifestyles. Grisham’s tale unfolds at a leisurely pace, never breaking into a sweat, and if the bad guys seem a touch too familiar, the rest of the cast make a varied and believable lot, and some might even be fun to ride out a storm with, at least if they're unarmed.

A pleasure for Grisham fans and an undemanding addition to the beach bag.

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-385-54593-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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