A dark tale of relationships, ambition, and revenge.

DARK THINGS I ADORE

An art professor goes from predator to prey in this debut thriller.

In 2018, Max Durant, a once-acclaimed but now fading artist and art professor, is on a weekend trip to middle-of-nowhere Maine with Audra Colfax, his genius mentee. His plan? See how her thesis is getting along and finally consummate the sexual tension he’s sure has been sizzling between them since they met. Audra, on the other hand, is getting ready to spring a trap she’s been laying for years, with Max at the center. In 1988, a young instructor who goes by Juniper has returned to the Lupine Valley Arts Collective, a small camp in Maine that caters to artists of every type, and she’s ready to relax back into a place that’s like a second home. The addition of a new townie to the artist mix starts to shake things up, though, and Juniper's closest friend, Moss, is acting strangely. As all three will find out, the Lupine Valley is beautiful and hides its secrets very well. Exploring the story through Max's, Audra's, and Juniper’s points of view, as well as descriptions of Audra’s thesis, lets the narrative unfold easily and keeps the momentum up. This is much more of a howdunit than a whodunit; a curious reader will easily put the pieces together as they read. However, despite it being rather clear why things are happening, the question of how things are going to happen drives the reader forward. How is Audra’s trap going to unfold? What exactly did Max do to warrant this seeming revenge? And what happened between 1988 and 2018 for it to come to this? The ending will satisfy.

A dark tale of relationships, ambition, and revenge.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-984-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Stone’s least indulgent adventure in years. Never say never!

FOUL PLAY

A new client spells nothing but trouble for Stone Barrington and himself.

Now that he’s sold his family business for $250 million, Shepherd Troutman has come to New York to spread his wings. And it’s hard to imagine any person in fiction or real life better able to help him spend gobs of money than Stone. Before he can start signing those checks for the Bentley and the suite at the Carlyle Hotel, though, Shep has to get rescued from outside Stone’s Turtle Bay home, where a masked thug has beaten him senseless, and from any suspicion of having strangled the nameless call girl who turns up in his suite at the Carlyle—an episode that makes him think twice about that particular purchase. As the attacks continue, it becomes clear that someone has it in for Shep, and the someone, under the fig-leaf disguise of a Delaware corporation, is Russian mobster Gregor Kronk. There’s no negotiating with Kronk, Stone’s security advisers tell him after he’s spirited Shep and Roderick Troutman, the father who faked his own death in order to avoid involvement, out of New York; the only sane strategy is to give him what he wants, a series of patents worth another $250 million. Naturally, this perfectly reasonable advice grates on Stone, and the battle between good and evil is on once again, this time with two pleasing novelties: a plot twist most readers won’t see coming (and some won’t believe even after it arrives) and a focus, increasingly rare in Woods’ thrillers-by-the-yard, on actually unfolding a single sustained narrative with limited interruptions for sex, posturing, upscale spending, and loose ends.

Stone’s least indulgent adventure in years. Never say never!

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-33169-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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