PositiveThe Star TribuneKing does such a good job of getting us to bond with Billy that we find ourselves hoping for a successful assassination. King also deserves applause for resisting the urge to pander to readers\' short attention spans. Thanks in large part to Hollywood, thriller fans these days expect something—or someone—to be blown up as soon as the story starts. But King falls back on traditional pacing, taking time to define the characters and establish the situation before launching the action. We\'re 150 pages into the novel, and Billy still hasn\'t even set eyes on Allen. But don\'t worry; there are still more than 300 pages to go, and King has plenty of mayhem on his mind.
PositiveThe Star TribuneThis story lands Flowers in a classic police procedural ... The plot ultimately boils down to a series of interrogations, but don\'t mistake that for a lack of narrative tension. Sandford is a terrific storyteller who can spin an intriguing tale without having to fill it with death-defying mayhem. Flowers\' investigation leads to several dead ends, trips over a couple of red herrings and is detoured by developments that initially look like distractions but later turn out to be crucial. Armchair sleuths who are intent on solving the crime for themselves will need to be on their toes.
PositiveThe Star TribuneThis is a thriller — and a good one, at that. There’s little in the way of King’s usual emphasis on the occult beyond the topic of psychic powers, which, according to surveys, as many as 40% of Americans believe are real. But there’s no shortage of monsters, that’s for sure. They just come in the coldblooded, end-justifies-the-means, laws-don’t-apply-to-us human variety. We have no trouble believing that those types of people are real. And they are plenty scary.
PanMinneapolis Star TribuneTaking a mere six pages to set the scene and introduce the players, Sandford kicks the story into motion ... Sandford’s characterization of Davenport becomes increasingly cursory in each progressive book. His effort here doesn’t even qualify as one-dimensional; it’s more like two-thirds of a dimension ... when you’re on book No. 27, it can be hard to find new ways to say the same old things about your protagonist.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneIt’s a weak premise at best...But that’s not Grisham’s aim. He wants to follow Mercer as she drifts from parties to happy hours, talking to writers about everything from the effectiveness of prologues (thumbs down) to their favorite authors (including a nod to Louise Erdrich). Fans of Grisham’s potboilers likely will be surprised by this book’s slower pacing and introspective nature. But at the same time, those fans might be impressed to discover that an author who churns out books as if they were coming off an assembly line clearly has spent considerable time analyzing the craft of writing and the artists who practice it.
MixedThe Minneapolis Star TribuneGrisham is adept at cooking up fast-moving stories, and he does his usual top-notch job of outlining the plot's convoluted legal machinations without turning the narrative into a law school lecture. But as the case progresses, Lacy becomes less and less of a participant, until she's little more than an observer. It's an interesting tale, but it's ultimately missing the virtuous tilting-at-windmills element that typically draws us into Grisham's stories.
PositiveMinneapolis Star TribuneLawn chair, check. Warm and sunny spot in your yard or perhaps the lake, check. Now add a great book to read — and Terry McMillan’s latest, I Almost Forgot About You, complements summer relaxation...At middle age, Georgia has gone bored with the day to day of being an optometrist, living in a big home by herself and dining alone. Adding salt to the wound are her family and friends who constantly — and I mean constantly — ask her why she isn’t dating or doesn’t have a man. This question is repeated so frequently that it raises the question, 'Does a woman need a man to be validated?' This is the only stain on an otherwise pleasant read.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneWhile the first book poked at the edges of the genre and the second stretched its conventions, this one blows a hole in the format, interweaving the supernatural and a police procedural ... The first two books in the series stood as King's homage to the grizzled, trenchcoat clad, fedora-sporting gumshoes of the pulp detective classics. And this certainly has moments of that. But as the supernatural element of the plot gains momentum, opening a door to the literary school that King knows best, the story kicks into a higher gear that you don't even sense is there until you're caught up in it. In that way, it's a lot like the suicides that are at the heart of the story.
PositiveMinneapolis Star-Tribune[King's] fans not only tolerate his forays into other modalities, but have come to savor them. And there is much to savor in this collection of short stories that, despite its horror-centric title — the marketing gods must be served, after all — also touches on a wide range of other genres, from drama to humor and even poetry.