Full of military acronyms for the savvy reader.

THE FOURTH WAR

A smash-’em-up, swift-flying Western with a John Wayne–type maverick paramilitary operator on the trail of angry Islamic terrorists in possession of nuclear warheads.

Former USAF pilot Stewart’s fourth thriller (The Third Consequence, 2000, etc.) features sharp, fearless American agent Peter Zembeic, who works for a CIA group known as the Campers and uses his smarts to fight terrorism—certain that he is on the right side. The exiled Taliban have taken refuge in Pakistan to rebuild their forces, and, all at once, a series of calamitous events transpire in and around the country, from the mysterious downing of the Pakistani president’s airplane, to the assassination of Pakistan’s prime minister, to a number of destabilizing explosions in central Islamabad, leaving the country’s 24 nuclear warheads at the mercy of terrorist seizure. Peter and his CIA contact Colonel Shane Bradley (who operates from the Shin Bet Israeli undercover detachment south of Tel Aviv) have decoded a message from their Islamic terrorist spy Donner that “Darkhorse” is coming—a reference to the Apocalypse. Peter, working out of Camp Cowboy, a CIA paramilitary base in northern Afghanistan, is secretly led to the location of the warheads by the Islamic spy Donner, who seems truly motivated by humanitarian means when he explains the ramifications of a nuclear war: “America will be wounded, but we will cease to exist.” Yet the Americans fail to gain the warheads before they fall into the hands of an al-Qaeda terrorist cell led by the Great Leader (who sounds much like bin Laden), along with his dreaded henchman, a torture artist named Angra. Colonel Bradley and his trusty female pilot, Tia, are shot down and roughed up by Angra. Peter comes to the rescue in True Grit fashion, in what proves to be a swaggering, cowboys-and-Indians adventure that occasionally becomes airborne.

Full of military acronyms for the savvy reader.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2005

ISBN: 0-312-28646-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Reading anything by Slaughter is like riding a particularly scary amusement park ride. Reading this one is like booking a...

PIECES OF HER

A plain-Jane daughter’s 31st birthday celebration explodes into a nightmare within a nightmare in Slaughter’s latest stand-alone.

Andrea Oliver’s always felt inferior to her parents. Her father, Gordon Oliver, is a trusts and estates attorney; her mother, Dr. Laura Oliver, is a speech therapist. Andy herself has never aspired to any career goal higher than serving as an assistant to someone important. Even when she left Belle Isle, Georgia, for the Big Apple, she got nowhere, and she was only too eager to return home when her mother announced three years ago that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. As the two women mark Andy’s birthday by sharing lunch in a mall cafe, a crazed shooter opens fire on a mother-and-daughter pair who’ve stopped to greet Laura, and Andy’s life changes in an instant. Or rather two instants, the first when the shots ring out and the second when Laura, after inviting the killer to shoot her next, coolly and dispassionately dispatches him. It takes the dazed Andy hours to realize that her mother’s not at all who she seems to be, and by the time she’s ready to accept the fact that Laura Oliver is a woman with a past, that past is already racing to catch up with both mother and daughter. Cutting back and forth between Andy’s harrowing flight to nowhere after Laura pushes her out of her home and a backstory 30 years earlier involving the Army of the Changing World, a cell of amateur terrorists determined to strike a mortal blow against greedy capitalists and, it eventually turns out, each other as well, Slaughter (The Good Daughter, 2017, etc.) never abates her trademark intensity, and fans will feel that the story is pumping adrenalin directly into their bloodstreams. Long before the end, though, the impostures, secret identities, hidden motives, and double-crosses will have piled up past the point of no return, leaving the tale to run on adrenalin alone.

Reading anything by Slaughter is like riding a particularly scary amusement park ride. Reading this one is like booking a season ticket on a ride that never lets you off.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-243027-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 26

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more