A wickedly sharp first novel from an author to watch.

PRECIOUS YOU

A Gen X magazine editor-in-chief and her new millennial intern play an escalating game of cat and mouse in former journalist Monks Takhar’s debut psychological thriller.

At 41, London magazine editor Katherine Ross already feels like a walking cliché. She and her longtime partner Iain, a failed screenwriter, used to be the cool kids, complete with an open relationship and a cavalier attitude to drugs and drink. Now Katherine feels old and out of touch, reaching for a life that seems to have gotten away from her. After 20 years with her magazine, Leadership, and a bout of depression that caused a blip in her upward trajectory (and seems to be trying to take her over again), she’s trying to get back into the swing of things. Enter Lily Lunt, a beautiful, vibrant, and privileged 24-year-old upstart who seems to have weaseled her way into an internship via her aunt Gemma—who recently bought Leadership. Lily is everything Katherine used to be: “I couldn’t take my eyes off you. You were like looking into a mirror, or more like a window into a different time in my life, not long past, but just out of reach.” The lonely Katherine’s desire for mutual understanding, maybe even friendship, with Lily is clouded by instinctive mistrust. Katherine soon recognizes that Lily’s wide-eyed innocence is a mask, but what is she hiding? Lily wastes no time sidelining and embarrassing Katherine at Leadership, and before Katherine knows it, Lily has also wormed her way into Katherine’s personal life, including, to her horror, her relationship with Iain. Katherine and Lily’s tense and twisted push and pull unfolds through sinuous, overlapping first-person narratives—addressed to each other—that the author carefully shapes to highlight the characters' often divergent takes on shared events. Monks Takhar tackles workplace dynamics, aging, feminism, mental illness, and the hotly debated generation gap, all within the framework of a tightly plotted revenge thriller that reads a bit like a less soapy 21st-century Single White Female. Readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away as this runaway train inevitably derails.

A wickedly sharp first novel from an author to watch.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984855-96-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

LABYRINTH

Coulter’s treasured FBI agents take on two cases marked by danger and personal involvement.

Dillon Savitch and his wife, Lacey Sherlock, have special abilities that have served them well in law enforcement (Paradox, 2018, etc.). But that doesn't prevent Sherlock’s car from hitting a running man after having been struck by a speeding SUV that runs a red light. The runner, though clearly injured, continues on his way and disappears. Not so the SUV driver, a security engineer for the Bexholt Group, which has ties to government agencies. Sherlock’s own concussion causes memory loss so severe that she doesn’t recognize Savitch or remember their son, Sean. The whole incident seems more suspicious when a blood test from the splatter of the man Sherlock hit reveals that he’s Justice Cummings, an analyst for the CIA. The agency’s refusal to cooperate makes Savitch certain that Bexholt is involved in a deep-laid plot. Meanwhile, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith is visiting friends who run a cafe in the touristy Virginia town of Gaffers Ridge. Hammersmith, who has psychic abilities, is taken aback when he hears in his mind a woman’s cry for help. Reporter Carson DeSilva, who came to the area to interview a Nobel Prize winner, also has psychic abilities, and she overhears the thoughts of Rafer Bodine, a young man who has apparently kidnapped and possibly murdered three teenage girls. Unluckily, she blurts out her thoughts, and she’s snatched and tied up in a cellar by Bodine. Bodine may be a killer, but he’s also the nephew of the sheriff and the son of the local bigwig. So the sheriff arrests Hammersmith and refuses to accept his FBI credentials. Bodine's mother has psychic powers strong enough to kill, but she meets her match in Hammersmith, DeSilva, Savitch, and Sherlock.

Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9365-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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