RaveThe Washington PostBoth an absorbing crime story and an in-depth exploration of grief, betrayal and corruption ... Secrets, murder, political malfeasance, sexual misconduct: These are just some of the pieces in play in this sprawling account of people trying — and usually failing — to manage their messy lives in a town struggling for economic survival. Though strictly speaking a suspense novel, Cemetery Road is, in fact, a great deal more. In the precision and power of its language and its sheer amplitude of detail, Iles’s latest calls to mind the late, great Southern novelist Pat Conroy. Like Conroy, Iles writes with passion, intensity and an absolute commitment to the material at hand. The success of his recent Natchez Burning trilogy was clearly no fluke. Greg Iles is back and at the top of his game. He couldn’t be more welcome.
RaveThe Washington Post\"The Border is a furious, impassioned novel that directs its anger at a wide assortment of targets. Some of the angriest (and probably most controversial) moments come through Winslow’s scathing account of the 2016 presidential election ... The resulting portrait of greed and influence peddling at the highest levels of government lends an extra layer of outrage to an already white-hot narrative ... The Border guides us through a savage, wholly believable world. The result is a powerful — and painful — journey through a contemporary version of hell. Rarely has hell been so compelling.\
RaveThe Washington PostLou Berney’s November Road is the latest novel to explore this explosive material, and the result is one of the most distinctive, unexpected crime novels of recent years ... November Road is his first attempt at historical fiction, and it is impressive ... a road novel and a first-rate thriller ... a quietly moving evocation of public and private trauma, of individuals searching for new lives in a radically altered world. This is Berney’s best book to date.
PositiveThe Washington PostBad Man is an atmospheric and unsettling novel, but not a perfect one. The plot, seen largely through Ben’s limited point of view, can be murky and difficult to follow ... Certain elements...are insufficiently developed. Yet the book works ... his ability to convey the grief, guilt and sense of loss that fuel Ben’s fixation gives the book a resonant emotional center ... It will be interesting and instructive to see what dark places he takes us to next.
PositiveThe Washington PostHush Arbor truly is a haunted place, and the origins of that haunting go back to the days of the African slave trade. Hart skillfully weaves that history into the primary story. Set pieces recounting some of the region’s more horrific encounters are among the highlights of an engrossing, cumulatively disturbing narrative that encompasses murder, madness, magic, betrayal and obsessive, undying love. The result is unlike anything Hart has done before. The intertwining narratives involving John Merrimon, the Freemantles and their quest to possess the land and its secrets are consistently compelling, but Hart’s central achievement is his vivid, hallucinatory portrait of Hush Arbor itself ... With its supernatural overtones and blurring of genre boundaries, The Hush may well seem like an anomaly. Regardless, readers should happily follow along into its hypnotic world.
PositiveThe Washington Post...in many respects, a different sort of book, but it, too, depends on King’s typically unerring sense of character for its deepest effects. The narrator is Devin Jones, a 60-something writer looking back on the summer of 1973, when he was 21 years old ... Within that Bradbury-like setting, King has created a moving, immensely appealing coming-of-age tale that encompasses restless ghosts, serial murder, psychic phenomena and sexual initiation ...quotidian details pervade the narrative, providing a solid foundation for the dramatic, sometimes otherworldly events ...opens up this world and gives it a tangible reality. The resulting portrait of Joyland in action is absorbing enough, all by itself, to sustain a full-length narrative. This, however, is a Stephen King novel, and so a darker, more menacing reality eventually asserts itself ... The melodramatic aspects of the story are great fun, but the real strength of Joyland stems from King’s ability to connect with his characters directly and viscerally.
RaveThe Washington PostWhile the first two volumes dealt with ambitious building projects — the cathedral in Pillars of the Earth, a bridge and hospital in World Without End — the new book proceeds from a more abstract premise: the radical notion of religious tolerance ... Follett moves these characters briskly along through 50 eventful years encompassing births, deaths, marriages, murders and assorted betrayals. But the real spine of the narrative is the deeply researched historical backdrop against which these private dramas play out. History has provided Follett with some spectacular dramatic moments, and he takes full advantage, recreating them with a historian’s eye for detail and a novelist’s gift for narrative suspense ... Like its predecessors in the Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire is absorbing, painlessly educational and a great deal of fun.
PositiveThe Philadelphia InquirerA Column of Fire is set in Elizabethan England. It ranges well beyond Kingsbridge into the wider world of a divided Europe, propelling a large cast of characters through England, Scotland, France, Spain, and the Netherlands ...the new book proceeds from a more abstract premise: the radical notion of religious tolerance ... Follett moves these characters briskly through 50 eventful years of births, deaths, marriages, murders, and assorted betrayals. But the real spine of the narrative is the deeply researched historical backdrop against which these private dramas play out ...a historian's eye for detail and a novelist's gift for suspense...absorbing, painlessly educational, and a great deal of fun. Follett uses the tools of popular fiction to great effect, illuminating a nation's gradual progress toward modernity.
RaveThe Washington PostHill’s NOS4A2 is the kind of big, wide-ranging horror novel that will inevitably evoke comparisons to Stephen King’s work. That, it seems to me, is less the result of direct literary influence than of a shared sensibility and a common belief that horror fiction, properly utilized, can take a reader anywhere. NOS4A2 is horror fiction at its most ambitious, and it goes to some very strange places indeed … A road novel, a horror novel and — most centrally — a novel of character, NOS4A2 is a substantial accomplishment, and it marks Hill as a major force — perhaps the major force — among the younger generation of horror writers. Like the best of its dark breed, it offers visceral narrative pleasures while never losing sight of the human element that lies just below the extravagantly imagined surface.
RaveThe Washington PostWinter of the World, the equally massive second volume of the trilogy, opens in the critical year of 1933. Against the backdrop of a worldwide Depression that has resulted in widespread unemployment, Hitler and his party assume complete control over Germany ...dramatizes the major ideological conflicts that marked the first half of a turbulent century, moving from Germany under the Third Reich to the battlegrounds of the Spanish Civil War to the Russia of Joseph Stalin...the real centerpiece of the narrative, a sustained sequence that occupies fully two-thirds of its considerable length, is Follett’s chronological, highly selective re-creation of World War II ... In several sections of the novel, Follett returns to his roots as a thriller writer, focusing on the role that espionage played in the conduct of the war ... Follett’s real gifts are those of a natural storyteller.
RaveThe Washington Post...an immense, brooding crime novel rooted in the tragic racial history of the American South ... surely one of the longest, most successfully sustained works of popular fiction in recent memory. Make no mistake, these three volumes constitute a single story, a vast, intimate epic that must be read in sequence and in full. And if the prospect of committing to a narrative spanning 2,300 pages seems daunting, prepare to be surprised ... Few novelists have conveyed so viscerally the incomprehensible cruelty to which victims of white supremacists were subjected for so long. Few have so convincingly explored the atavistic impulses that underlie racial violence ... the capstone to what could legitimately be called a magnum opus.