PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksBell creates a suspenseful domestic thriller that targets all the vulnerable places of parents: that their parenting skills are inferior; that they fail to protect their child; but most of all, that the stranger whom they reluctantly invite into their home and family is not who she claims to be, that she may, in fact, be dangerous ... Bell builds suspense until one almost wants to skip to the end just to relieve the tension by more quickly knowing what happens. Those who want a fast-paced story may want to give this one a pass, as the suspense builds more slowly than the average thriller, with no car chases, fights, or gun play. In many ways Bell’s building suspense is more terrifying.
Michael Farris Smith
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... a Southern gothic novel that will ever alter your view of kudzu vines as merely a pesky form of vegetation, but as a metaphor for the past’s malevolent intrusion into the present ... a novel that will haunt one long after the last page is turned. Like Faulkner’s, Smith’s descriptive narrative is poetic, and like Faulkner, his story is heavily weighted by past acts that consciously or unconsciously motivate the characters ... dark ... Southern gothic novels such as Blackwood are not for the fainthearted, but for those who love symbolism, metaphor, and complex characters filled with angst and tortured self-reflection. Give it five stars out of five.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksKent’s Dallas setting is so meticulously drawn that one can practically smell the streets, the sour odor of the street people. All of her characters are memorable, and not a single one, even the minor characters, is less than three dimensional. Kent has a talent for creating real people with a few succinct sentences ... Her plot is complex, and much of the action is violent as one expects from noir novels. Those who may be uncomfortable with Betty’s and Jackie’s lesbian relationship, suspend your discomfort; otherwise, you miss the best kick-ass character to come along in several years.
Annette Hess, Trans. by Elisabeth Lauffer
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThis is one of the most compelling novels about the Frankfurt Trials of 1963, when Germany must once again confront its past, and attempt to justify its individual reasons for doing nothing when so many could smell the greasy smoke coming from the smokestacks of the crematoriums ... compulsive reading, both for the historical account, but also for three-dimensional characters who confront their own flaws, as well as the atrocities of the past ... Although frequently painful to read, The German House is a condemnation of the Nazi past, but also an exploration of survivors’ guilt, as well as families in conflict.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... a compelling novel that one cannot put down, no matter how painful the reading is at times ... Allen Eskens skillfully creates a three-dimensional character in Boady ... the next best thing to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and Boady is an older, occasionally equally insensitive Scout ... Setting, plot, and characterization are masterfully woven together to create a tapestry of a small town as a tinderbox of prejudice, fear, friendship, and dark secrets, needing only a spark to explode into murderous rage ... A magnificent book and an uplifting one, suitable for both adults and YA. Its only blemish, and it is a minor one, is that the Elginses lacked the flaws that would have made them more human ... On a scale of one to ten, Nothing More Dangerous is at least an 11.
Karin Fossum, Trans. by Kari Dickson
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... more than just a thriller, it is an exploration of a woman’s descent into madness, and it is more frightening than one can imagine. To see reality upturned and to believe utterly in that reality as Ragna does, only to find that reality is mere perception, not true at all, is the true horror of the story ... Karin Fossum is a master at constructing a compelling horror story out of real life. Although Ragna’s angst is almost more than one can tolerate in places, it is necessary to understand the character. That is all Ragna wants in the end, that someone understand her ... recommended for all fans of Nordic mysteries where angst is almost a requirement.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThe perfect book for anyone who has ever experienced living on the same street as The Neighbor from Hell ... illustrates both the snobbishness of many of those who live on Lowland Way, and their determination to preserve the status quo as well as their sense of superiority to the Booths ... Though this \'domestic dispute\' is described without noticeable bias, one sometimes wishes Candlish had come down harder on one side or the other; but domestic mysteries, the good ones anyway, always portray the truth that what is below the placid surface of peaceful lives in a domestic setting is nearly always darker than outward appearances might reveal.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksUnlike most historical fiction peopled by kings and queens, dukes and earls, and every other aristocrat with any claim to power, The Burning Chambers features ordinary people, mainly middle class skilled artisans and shop owners, along with their servants who are more often treated as family members rather than nameless minions who perform necessary, but often unpleasant chores for their masters ... Mosse weaves a rich-textured tapestry of history, characterization, and setting that brings to life a time of intolerance that seems an echo of our own...However, the prologue set in the 19th century in South Africa, seems a discordant scene as there is no context. It might have worked better as an Epilogue ... Otherwise, The Burning Chambers is a masterful novel that will keep one reading far into the night. The next entry to this series can’t come too soon.
Joe R Lansdale
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksNo one writes East Texas humor like Joe E. Lansdale with its down home echoes of Will Rogers, and Mark Twain cynicism. That is a good thing; otherwise, the mounting body count, vivid descriptions of blood and brains, not to mention the loss of various body parts, would remain one too much of American Psycho ... nonstop action with no pause for one to draw a breath. While the pace may seem a little too fast for many, it mirrors the storm that forms the backdrop of the novel. The storm is as relentless as the action ... All in all, Lansdale delivers another exciting East Texas action thriller that will satisfy his many fans, while whetting their appetite for adventures with Hap and Leonard. Well done, Mr. Lansdale.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksBoth a riveting suspense novel and a philosophical exploration of the dangers of remaining silent, both to oneself and to the wider community ... Mr. Broderick has mastered the technique of plot reversal and the art of planting red herrings to confuse and mislead ... A thrilling, absorbing story well-told.
S. A. Chakraborty
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksSpellbinding is an appropriate word to describe S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel, The City of Brass. Mesmerizing is another ...a fantasy, and a superb one, but it is also an adventure that rivals the excitement of The Lord of the Rings ...an understatement to say that it is fast-paced. One is slung from one life-threatening adventure to another with hardly time to draw breath between each ...the use of modern language, including some slang, makes the novel accessible to more readers.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books...a suspense-filled novel fueled by nonstop action that tells the story of the race between Hitler’s Germany and the Allies to develop the nuclear bomb, and how the bravery of a few men sabotaged the Nazi efforts … Gross tells the story of the sabotage of the Norsk Hydro factory and the sinking of the Hydro in the form of a fictional thriller—and an incredible thriller it is … The Saboteur by Andrew Gross is the best, most exciting novel published this year. Action, suspense, heroism, sacrifice for a cause greater than the individual are themes that make this novel the prototype for a true thriller.