The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer Series #2) by Brent Weeks
From the Publisher –
Gavin Guile is dying.
He'd thought he had five years left--now he has less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies. Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
Kirkus Reviews –
Harry Potter's mommy has a potty mouth. The wires have been abuzz for months with the news that Rowling was writing a new book--and this one a departure from her Potter franchise, a book for grown-ups. The wait was worth it, and if Rowling's focus remains on tortured adolescents (as if there were any other kind), they're teenagers trapped without any magic whatsoever in a world full of Muggles. There's some clef in this roman, magic or not: The setting is a northerly English town full of council estates and leafy garden suburbs inhabited by people who, almost without exception, are not very happy and really not very likable. While a special election is in the offing, they do the usual things: They smoke and drink and masturbate, and they say and think things along the lines of "Like fuck he does, the cunt," and when they're lucky, they have sex, or at least cop a feel, best when a young woman named Krystal is involved. Ah, Krystal, a piece of work both nasty and beguiling: "She knew no fear, like the boys who came to school with tattoos they had inked themselves, with split lips and cigarettes, and stories of clashes with the police, of taking drugs and easy sex." Sometimes, as with the figure who opens the piece, Rowling's characters die--and, as with the American Henry James' oh-so-English novel , when they do, they set things in motion. Other times, they close things up but never neatly. The reader will be surprised at some of Rowling's victims and the ways she chooses to dispose of them, but this is less a book about mayhem than about the grimness of most lives. It is skillfully, often even elegantly written, and though its cast of characters is large and its thrills and spills few, Rowling manages to keep the story tied together and moving along nicely. Even so, it's difficult to find much purchase among some of her characters, particularly the tough, poor ones who live on the edge of town, and it often seems that Rowling doesn't like them much either. In all, when they're not sneaking off to Yarvil for relief, the residents of Pagford are Hobbesian through and through: rich hate poor, and poor hate rich; Indians hate Anglos, and Anglos hate Indians; and everyone hates the meddlesome middle-class do-gooders with suggestive names like Fairbrother who try to make things better. A departure and a revelation, though the story is dark and doesn't offer much in the way of redemption (or, for that matter, much in the way of laughs). Still, this Rowling person may have a career as a writer before her.
Delusion in Death (In Death Series #35) by J. D. Robb
Kirkus Reviews –
The latest quarry of Lt. Eve Dallas is the homegrown terrorist who masterminded a pair of unfathomable attacks that left 127 citizens dead. One minute On the Rocks is a bar full of whatever they call yuppies in 2060 whining about their jobs and plotting seductions; the next minute the yuppies morph into murderous savages who kill each other with cocktail forks, stemware and their bare hands. What could have made 93 model citizens run berserk? Since Eve's billionaire husband, Roarke, owns On the Rocks, he's involved in the case from the beginning, but it's the personnel of the police lab, not Roarke's minions, who figure out that the disaster was caused by a nefarious gas based on LSD and tweaked with even more dangerous hallucinogens. The attack was so successful that there's bound to be another one, and so there is, at nearby Café West. But this second outrage leads to a breakthrough when Eve realizes that the two episodes both involve a group of employees from the marketing department of Stevenson and Reede. And the case cracks wide open when she links both attacks to the wild schemes of the late crackpot scientist Guiseppi Menzini and the Red Horse terrorist network. Fighting off nightmares that connect her latest investigation to the unfortunate birth parents she identified in (2011), she zeroes in on the killer. The detection is uninspired and a bit of a slog. As so often in this bestselling series, the high point is the police interrogation of the perp--this time by a corps of five strong women who unite to bamboozle him in a most satisfying way.