Lyrical and terse, funny and tragic—a marvelous addition to the McGregor canon.


A storm, a stroke, a death—this Antarctic expedition leaves a traumatic aftermath.

Robert “Doc” Wright, a 33-year veteran of Antarctic expeditions, couldn’t have picked a worse time and place to have a stroke. Not only is he at a remote research station in Antarctica—“the nearest humans are about three hundred miles away. And they’re Russian”—he and his two inexperienced teammates are outside, far from shelter, and physically separate from one another when the storm begins. Why? Because one of the researchers wants to take some pictures, and they’ve separated in order to get the right shots: “Without someone in the frame there was no way to capture the scale of this place.” Confused, debilitated, embarrassed to call for help and admit that he’s let such a dangerous situation arise, Doc finds himself ultimately unable to save the life of one of the young researchers for whom he’s responsible. Another writer might have kept us in Antarctica, in the storm, sitting with these slender humans as they shiver and grimace against the enormity of nature. But not McGregor. In previous books like Reservoir 13 (2017) and The Reservoir Tapes (2018), McGregor has shown himself less interested in the immediate participants of tragedy than in the ripples such tragedies sew across the communities in which they transpire. Here, though McGregor relates much of the gripping event in question, he ultimately leaves Antarctica behind, turning his attention to Doc’s wife, Anna, a climate change researcher who has long since tired of her husband’s passion for the Antarctic and the annual absences that come with it. With Robert incapacitated by his stroke, Anna is suddenly thrust into the role of reluctant caregiver, helping him stand up, helping him dress himself, and ultimately trying to help him tell the story—to himself and to her—of what exactly happened down there, in Antarctica, in the blowing snow. Though its ending is only moderately successful (for some readers it may feel a bit too neat), this is nonetheless a quiet, beautiful novel that’s at once deeply sad and wryly funny.

Lyrical and terse, funny and tragic—a marvelous addition to the McGregor canon.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64622-099-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Catapult

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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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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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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An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.


When a family convenes at their Cape Cod summer home for a wedding, old secrets threaten to ruin everything.

Sarah Danhauser is shocked when her beloved stepdaughter announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Gabe. After all, Ruby’s only 22, and Sarah suspects that their relationship was fast-tracked because of the time they spent together in quarantine during the early days of the pandemic. Sarah’s mother, Veronica, is thrilled, mostly because she longs to have the entire family together for one last celebration before she puts their Cape Cod summer house on the market. But getting to Ruby and Gabe’s wedding might prove more difficult than anyone thought. Sarah can’t figure out why her husband, Eli, has been so distant and distracted ever since Ruby moved home to Park Slope (bringing Gabe with her), and she's afraid he may be having an affair. Veronica is afraid that a long-ago dalliance might come back to bite her. Ruby isn’t sure how to process the conflicting feelings she’s having about her upcoming nuptials. And Sam, Sarah’s twin brother, is a recent widower who’s dealing with some pretty big romantic confusion. As the entire extended family, along with Gabe’s relatives, converges on the summer house, secrets become impossible to keep, and it quickly becomes clear that this might not be the perfect gathering Veronica was envisioning. If they make it to the wedding, will their family survive the aftermath? Weiner creates a story with all the misunderstandings and miscommunications of a screwball comedy or a Shakespeare play (think A Midsummer Night’s Dream). But the surprising, over-the-top actions of the characters are grounded by a realistic and moving look at grief and ambition (particularly for Sarah and Veronica, both of whom give up demanding creative careers early on). At times the flashbacks can slow down the story, but even when the characters are lying, cheating, and hiding from each other, they still seem like a real and loving family.

An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3357-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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