Robie and Reel fans will thrill to see their favorite spies back in action, no matter what the setting.

THE TARGET

Baldacci picks up where he left off with CIA assassins Will Robie and Jessica Reel in this no-holds-barred tale of perfidy and murder at the highest level.

The president, the director of the CIA and the president’s national security adviser meet in secret to hatch a plot to kill the dangerous and unpredictable leader of North Korea. Evan Tucker, the slimy CIA head, decides to use Robie and Reel, whose last mission ended in the deaths of other agency personnel. But first he sends them to the Burner Box, a training facility in rural North Carolina, where they’re subjected to everything from near-fatal waterboarding to food and sleep deprivation. When a North Korean operative discovers the mission and blows it out of the water, Robie and Reel are sent to clean up the mess. Meanwhile, Julie, a young girl they know from a previous mission that’s never fully explained here, is captured by a group of Nazi sympathizers intent on getting to Reel. Baldacci’s prose crackles with urgency, and both spies, although psychological messes, are at the tops of their games. But this novel’s construction proves both puzzling and distracting: Baldacci spins a compelling, although much of the time improbable, tale revolving around the failed strike at North Korea, taking up about a third of the book. The second third veers into Reel’s neo-Nazi past and takes the story so far afield that they seem like different novels. The final third returns to the Korean storyline, with the results being oddly fragmented. Some scenes set in a Korean concentration camp prove the most compelling by far, especially with their heartbreaking descriptions of lives that are almost too terrible to contemplate.

Robie and Reel fans will thrill to see their favorite spies back in action, no matter what the setting.

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4555-2123-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it. The final pages are...

GONE GIRL

A perfect wife’s disappearance plunges her husband into a nightmare as it rips open ugly secrets about his marriage and, just maybe, his culpability in her death.

Even after they lost their jobs as magazine writers and he uprooted her from New York and spirited her off to his childhood home in North Carthage, Mo., where his ailing parents suddenly needed him at their side, Nick Dunne still acted as if everything were fine between him and his wife, Amy. His sister Margo, who’d gone partners with him on a local bar, never suspected that the marriage was fraying, and certainly never knew that Nick, who’d buried his mother and largely ducked his responsibilities to his father, stricken with Alzheimer’s, had taken one of his graduate students as a mistress. That’s because Nick and Amy were both so good at playing Mr. and Ms. Right for their audience. But that all changes the morning of their fifth anniversary when Amy vanishes with every indication of foul play. Partly because the evidence against him looks so bleak, partly because he’s so bad at communicating grief, partly because he doesn’t feel all that grief-stricken to begin with, the tide begins to turn against Nick. Neighbors who’d been eager to join the police in the search for Amy begin to gossip about him. Female talk-show hosts inveigh against him. The questions from Detective Rhonda Boney and Detective Jim Gilpin get sharper and sharper. Even Nick has to acknowledge that he hasn’t come close to being the husband he liked to think he was. But does that mean he deserves to get tagged as his wife’s killer? Interspersing the mystery of Amy’s disappearance with flashbacks from her diary, Flynn (Dark Places, 2009, etc.) shows the marriage lumbering toward collapse—and prepares the first of several foreseeable but highly effective twists.

One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it. The final pages are chilling.

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-58836-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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