RaveThe New York Journal of Books... a masterful tale driven by Yan’s brisk pacing and evocative writing and details that pulse with truth that’s perhaps inspired by the novelist’s teenage years, when she served with the People’s Liberation Army as a dancer in an entertainment troupe ... adventurous and emotionally engaging ... ultimately unlocks the transformative power of listening and honesty for recovery and redemption from tribulations of the past.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksTwo types of readers will be drawn to Mother May I...The first group includes lovers of complex tales written with swift pacing and tense narratives. While they’ll certainly enjoy most of the book, some will view it as a story that could have been told with about 50 fewer pages...The second group includes those who appreciate denser domestic dramas that dwell on deeply rendered emotions, rich character backstories, and \'ideas to talk about at book club.\' Thanks to Jackson’s deep roots in the South, uncanny empathy, and storytelling talent, book clubs will talk about Mother May I in glowing terms for a long time ... Everything that happens during the story takes place in about 48 hours, with finely plotted, character-driven twists that force Bree to probe her own psyche for clues to the motivations of that scary old woman. But because the story is so character-driven there are several points where the action is lulled by long passages delving into the past to deepen the context of what’s happening now ... While that will probably muffle the story’s appeal among those who prefer more rapid-fire pacing, it’s a winning approach for engaging those book club readers who crave stories that beg for interesting discussion, and another fine book by a writer who expertly mines the potential for danger in the everyday places those readers know so well.
J. Robert Lennon
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... masterfully told ... what a pleasure it is! Page after page features passages that beg to be read again, with wonderfully inventive visuals along the way ... Indeed, it isn’t long before readers are led to believe the entire world Lennon has built is a before-and-after place, which deepens the story’s nightmarish vibe while propelling the narrative forward ... [Lennon] is one of those rare contemporary writers who’s forged a unique way of storytelling that fuses imagination and reality to create narratives that are presently compelling and resonant long after the last words are read ... While It’s easy to envision his work being analyzed by the MFA crowd, the plots and language are equally appealing to everyday readers who want accessible storytelling that’s intriguing as opposed to confusing (or so obtuse that it takes a room full of those MFAs to figure out what the stories mean) ... Yes, he’s brilliant, but he knows the writer’s most important priority is to entertain. Which is exactly what he does in Subdivision, where cryptic chills and surprises lie around every corner.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksSurprisingly, this structure works very well. One reason is Berenson’s ability—as an accomplished journalist—to depict the FBI and NSA as fascinating places. Another is his success in showing the visceral connection between Kira’s plight and the marital and career decisions her parents have made ... As a result the story races along with deepening intrigue as Rebecca leverages her contacts and skills to gain more help from different law enforcement agencies in her joint quest with Brian to rescue Kira. And it gets even better when everything we’ve learned about Brian’s compulsions makes it increasingly likely they won’t succeed ... All of this would be more than enough for a satisfying read even without the heart-stopping direction Berenson takes the tale in its final chapters, veering into the darkest corners of Rebecca and Brian’s troubled minds to bring the violence even closer to home. Fast, thrilling, and full of intrigue, The Power Couple is a story that surprises to the very end.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksThriller fans love \'twists\' that make them think \'wow, didn’t see that coming.\' Those twists typically come close to the end of the tale, and are most powerful when they spark an initial surprise, followed by the realization that they actually make perfect sense based on both the literal and subtle storytelling up until that point. In Goodnight Beautiful, Aimee Molloy sends readers on a whiplashing mystery ride that turns that whole convention inside out ... What distinguishes Goodnight Beautiful is Molloy’s spectacular feat of misdirection and uncanny success in unfolding revelations that are surprising yet believable from the early pages until the very last.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books...be in for a big surprise, however, as they turn the pages of the upcoming Her Every Fear, a woman-in-jeopardy story in which the bad people are men ...revel at Swanson’s ability to create charismatic villains who spark fear by the evilness of their deeds and because they look like people we see every day ...these scenes between Corbin and Henry where Swanson’s strengths as a craftsman of evil truly shine ...a very different kind of book, more reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic storytelling than the stiletto-sharp prose that’s led readers and critics to compare Swanson to James Cain.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksBoth of The Girl Before’s unreliable narrators are young women who welcome an interesting bargain: Live in an architectural masterpiece of a home in exchange for abiding by several strange rules ... Those rules deepen the intrigue of this story from beginning to end ...the truths that are gradually revealed show both women are far stronger than they first appear. In fact, inside this strange and beautiful house the whole idea of who’s really 'in control' comes into question again and again ... Like the residences in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Stephen King’s The Shining, this house inspires both intrigue and dread due to its architectural grandeur, odd interior spaces, and history of tragic happenings.