Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In Barclay's Take Your Breath Away, Andrew Mason is suspected of murdering wife Brie after she disappears, and further complications arise when someone resembling her shows up at the couple's old address before vanishing again (100,000-copy first printing). First seen in Brown's 2021 New York Times best seller, Arctic Storm Rising, former U.S. Air Force officer Nick Flynn now faces a Countdown to Midnight, with Midnight the code name for a secret project between Russia and Iran involving a lethal new weapon (125,000-copy first printing). In Burke's Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, novelist Aaron Holland is guided by the ghost of his recently deceased daughter when his do-gooding efforts draw him into a shady crowd that includes a former Klansman, a not-so-saintly minister, some scary fake-evangelical bikers, and a murderer (100,000-copy first printing). In Carr's In the Blood, a Mossad operative known to former Navy SEAL James Reece is killed in a plane explosion (she herself had just completed a targeted assassination), but searching for the culprit might mean walking into a trap (200,000-copy first printing). In Horowitz's third James Bond outing, as yet Untitled, 007 is starting to question his role as the Cold War wears on but agrees to act as a double agent so that he can infiltrate a newly hatched Soviet intelligence organization (50,000-copy first printing). Unfolding 15 years after events in Iles's "Natchez Burning" trilogy, Southern Man reintroduces Penn Cage, back in action as shots fired at a Bienville music festival nearly kill his daughter, a militant Black group takes responsibility for the torching of antebellum mansions, and a close friend is shot to death by a county deputy (200,000-copy first printing). Her career stumbling, lawyer Nicole Muller gladly complies when she's asked by the exclusive women's professional group Panthera Leo to Please Join Us, but as author McKenzie soon reveals, membership comes at a price (60,000-copy first printing). Demoted from the elite Hawks police unit for being too keen on uncovering state corruption, Meyer's stalwart detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido await transfer from Cape Town to dull duty in Stellenbosch when an anonymous warning and a missing-student assignment reveal that The Dark Flood of corruption they knew was there is worse than they imagined. On a business trip with her new, much younger husband, Pavone's latest heroine, Ariel Price, can't enjoy her Two Nights in Lisbon; she awakens one morning to find her spouse missing and begins to realize that she hardly knows him (200,000-copy first printing). Edgar-nominated for The Impossible Fortress and also the editor behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Rekulak returns with Hidden Pictures, featuring a nanny whose five-year-old charge draws increasingly creepy and sophisticated pictures (shown in the text) hinting at a long-ago murder (250,000-copy first printing). A woman lies murdered, surrounded by Dark Objects that include the book How To Process a Murder by forensics expert Laughton Rees, who's of course immediately called to the scene; the latest from "Sanctus" author Toyne (50,000-copy first printing).


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In Rekulak's (The Impossible Fortress) sophomore novel, Mallory becomes the nanny to Teddy, a Philadelphia-area five-year-old possessed by a spirit that expresses itself by drawing pictures of its murder. Mallory focuses her narration on the inanities of the mother's passive-aggressive nature or the blandness of the family's furniture or descriptions of the neighborhood bookstore. But when the boy's wealthy parents refuse to believe that a ghost could be possessing their son, Mallory attempts to communicate with an entity she blithely assumes to be benign. Unfortunately, complications like a cute neighbor and awkward advances from the boy's father keep Mallory from fully exploring the supernatural puzzle, let alone her wasted athletic career or struggles with addiction. While Mallory eventually explores her own tragic backstory, it fills a gap more than it drives her character. VERDICT This work offers plenty of commentary about the superficiality and priorities of upper middle-class America, but a more focused novel would have been more compelling.—Aaron Heil


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A disturbing household secret has far-reaching consequences in this dark, unusual ghost story. Mallory Quinn, fresh out of rehab and recovering from a recent tragedy, has taken a job as a nanny for an affluent couple living in the upscale suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey, when a series of strange events start to make her (and her employers) question her own sanity. Teddy, the precocious and shy 5-year-old boy she's charged with watching, seems to be haunted by a ghost who channels his body to draw pictures that are far too complex and well formed for such a young child. At first, these drawings are rather typical: rabbits, hot air balloons, trees. But then the illustrations take a dark turn, showcasing the details of a gruesome murder; the inclusion of the drawings, which start out as stick figures and grow increasingly more disturbing and sophisticated, brings the reader right into the story. With the help of an attractive young gardener and a psychic neighbor and using only the drawings as clues, Mallory must solve the mystery of the house's grizzly past before it's too late. Rekulak does a great job with character development: Mallory, who narrates in the first person, has an engaging voice; the Maxwells' slightly overbearing parenting style and passive-aggressive quips feel very familiar; and Teddy is so three-dimensional that he sometimes feels like a real child. It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Rekulak (The Impossible Fortress) uses horror as a lens to bring the dark underbelly of suburbia into focus in this gripping supernatural thriller. Narrator Mallory Quinn is a 21-year-old recovering addict getting a second chance as a live-in nanny to five-year-old Teddy Maxwell, a sweet-natured young artist whose wonderfully creepy pictures appear throughout the novel. His uncanny muse/model is his “imaginary friend,” Anya, whom his erudite, politically correct parents dismiss. Mallory takes Anya seriously, however, especially as Teddy’s art rapidly turns darker and impossibly sophisticated and Mallory learns of a long-ago murder in her guest house quarters. How is Anya manipulating Teddy? Could she be the murder victim? And why do Mallory’s concerns provoke such explosive emotion in Teddy’s parents? The plot unfolds at a good clip, and Mallory’s voice is engrossing, if occasionally too writerly for her working-class South Philly roots. There are no shocking twists here, but Rekulak isn’t looking to keep readers up at night; he’s holding a mirror up to white, affluent Gen X and asking pointed questions about class, trauma, and horror conventions. In that mode, he executes well and sticks the landing. (May)


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A disturbing household secret has far-reaching consequences in this dark, unusual ghost story.Mallory Quinn, fresh out of rehab and recovering from a recent tragedy, has taken a job as a nanny for an affluent couple living in the upscale suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey, when a series of strange events start to make her (and her employers) question her own sanity. Teddy, the precocious and shy 5-year-old boy she's charged with watching, seems to be haunted by a ghost who channels his body to draw pictures that are far too complex and well formed for such a young child. At first, these drawings are rather typical: rabbits, hot air balloons, trees. But then the illustrations take a dark turn, showcasing the details of a gruesome murder; the inclusion of the drawings, which start out as stick figures and grow increasingly more disturbing and sophisticated, brings the reader right into the story. With the help of an attractive young gardener and a psychic neighbor and using only the drawings as clues, Mallory must solve the mystery of the house's grizzly past before it's too late. Rekulak does a great job with character development: Mallory, who narrates in the first person, has an engaging voice; the Maxwells' slightly overbearing parenting style and passive-aggressive quips feel very familiar; and Teddy is so three-dimensional that he sometimes feels like a real child.It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The Pottery Barn-perfect town of Spring Brook promises to be a safe haven for Mallory, who needs a job and a second chance at life. After all, Mallory does a pretty good imitation of squeaky-clean suburbia for someone who’s a year and a half sober. When the Maxwells take a chance on her as a nanny for their adorable son Teddy, Mallory is overwhelmed with gratitude—for the opportunity, the cozy cottage provided for her to live in on the property, and the wholesome environment so unlike her own childhood. But things start going sideways pretty quickly. Who’s going to believe a recovering addict when she tries to tell them about Teddy’s gruesome drawings? And is the property haunted by a long-hidden secret? Rekulak (The Impossible Fortress, 2017) expertly injects the story with a supernatural twist, sowing doubt in the minds of readers who must decide: is Mallory backsliding into her old ways, or is there something rotten beneath the Maxwell’s glossy surface? The explosive third act gives this story a nail-biting ending sure to thrill. Paranormal perfection. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This crime-horror mash-up has a large print run (250k) so expect lots of attention.

Back