Cameron is a worthy keeper of the Clancy flame. Fans will be pleased.

TOM CLANCY SHADOW OF THE DRAGON

Cameron continues the late Tom Clancy’s long tradition of exciting thrillers featuring the Ryan family and rock-ribbed American heroes.

As an American science vessel pushes through Arctic ice in the Chukchi Borderland, a researcher hears banging and underwater human screams. Soon it becomes clear that a "boomer is in distress and calling for help.” Said boomer is a People’s Liberation Army submarine patrolling the Arctic, and its crew will die if it can’t surface. At the same time, series regular John Clark is in Vietnam training new agent Lisanne Robertson on how to avoid landing in a “Yourassisgrassistan” prison. And the Chinese have their worries as they combat the “Three Evils” of “terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.” They crack down on Uyghurs, who want “independence from the Chinese boot,” so Chinese intelligence is looking for a Uyghur separatist woman in western China whose husband had been trundled off for reeducation. But luckily, “the good guys”—in particular, the CIA’s John Clark—are looking for her too. It turns out that the woman has specific engineering knowledge of considerable military value to the great powers, and she wants to escape. Maybe Clark can help, or maybe not. And as if all this isn’t complicated enough, the CIA is pretty sure it has a mole whom the Chinese have code-named SURVEYOR and who is selling secrets to Beijing. The mole hunters search relentlessly, because they “hated Communism with the intensity of a thousand suns. Socialism was no better.” Clancy’s fans are used to these grand-scale plots, where a big part of the fun is seeing how all the puzzle pieces fit together in one big salute to American power and righteousness. And as for Cameron’s style, it’s as if Clancy himself were at the keyboard.  

Cameron is a worthy keeper of the Clancy flame. Fans will be pleased.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-18809-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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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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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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Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

22 SECONDS

Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series.

Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable.

Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49937-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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