A flawless and compassionate psychological thriller.

WHEN YOU ARE MINE

When an idealistic young police officer responds to a call of domestic assault and subsequently becomes friends with the victim, the lives of the two women become intertwined in an increasingly sinister way and the line between rescuer and prey becomes fatally blurred.

Philomena McCarthy may be the daughter of a notorious London gangster, but ever since the age of 11, when she was injured in the terrorist bombing of a bus, she has known that she wanted to join the London Metropolitan Police to become the kind of officer who saved her that day. And 16 years later, she has fulfilled that ambition and witnessed a great deal. “Most people look at London and see landmarks,” she explains. “I see the maimed, broken, and the addicted, the eyewitnesses, the innocent bystanders, and the bereaved.” Something new awaits Phil, however, when she assists Tempe Brown, a terrified young woman, and arrests Tempe’s assailant, who turns out to be a high-ranking police officer hailed as a hero for his courage during a headline-grabbing knife attack. As the expertly paced first-person narrative accelerates, the reader is drawn into Phil’s personal life and, at the same time, immersed in the world of everyday policing and the darker realm of corruption and dirty politics. “I am a good police officer,” Phil protests. “You don’t have to convince me,” her partner replies, “but they are trying to drive you out. And you can’t afford to make any mistakes.” But is her most serious mistake her new and needy best friend? Sidestepping all the clichés—the tough-girl humor is perfectly pitched and never overdone—the novel is as psychologically nuanced and emotionally engaging as it is suspenseful. There will be a wedding finally, after several funerals, but “summer has ended,” Phil notes, “and the air is growing cooler as the days shorten. I am not the same person I was four months ago, or even a week ago, or even this morning.” And the reader believes her.

A flawless and compassionate psychological thriller.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982166-45-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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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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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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