An often haunting story about memory and loss.

INTO THE ATTIC

A novel that offers a multilayered exploration of the afterlife, grief, and moving on.

Sherman opens each chapter of this novel with a fortune-cookie message, and the first summarizes a major theme of the novel: “Sift through your past to get a better idea of the present.” The plot revolves around 59-year-old Caroline Gregorian, a writer unraveling the threads of her tragic history. Nineteen years ago, she lost her husband, Michael, and parents, Bernice and Norman, in a car accident. Since then, she seems to have moved on, having found a different and possibly better partner in her current husband, Philip, and successfully raised her children Julie and Mark with him while advancing her writing career. As she sorts through her attic at Thanksgiving, she’s stunned to encounter her lost family members as ghosts. As they speak of a mysterious afterlife, they seem to be exactly how she remembers them—at least at first. However, she’s soon forced to rethink her family history and marriage, as each loved one reveals a different secret that involves a misunderstanding that they now endeavor to reconcile. Meanwhile, Caroline and Philip must address issues involving money and their own relationship. Over the course of this novel, Sherman brings the past into contact with the present to illustrate what it means to come to terms with one history and truly let go of the past. Supernatural elements, introduced early on, create a sense of mystery and suspense, while a poignant, deeply emotional tone is established well through Caroline’s perspective. Although some of the characters’ secrets feel clichéd, others make for intriguing plot twists. The book’s interest in showing parents and children exploring gender identity is admirable, but the execution feels trite and unrealistic; in particular, Caroline’s struggle with a nonbinary character’s pronouns feels overdone. Overall, though, Sherman’s prose style shows appealing moments of wit, and she successfully conveys a key message: “Everyone has a different version of the past, even if you were in the same room.”

An often haunting story about memory and loss.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2022

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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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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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