Review by New York Times Review
FIVE-CARAT SOUL, by James McBride. (Riverhead, $27.) In his debut story collection, the author of the National Book Award-winning novel "The Good Lord Bird" continues to explore race, masculinity, music and history. McBride's stories often hum with sweet nostalgia, and some even dispatch a kind of moral. THE APPARITIONISTS: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost, by Peter Manseau. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27.) Manseau's expedition through the beginnings of photography and its deceptions is a primer on cultural crosscurrents in mid-19th-century America. GIRL IN SNOW, by Danya Kukafka. (Simon & Schuster, $26.) Danya Kukafka's bewitching first novel spins a spell of mournful confession around a "Twin Peaks"-like centerpiece. In Kukafka's capable hands, villainy turns out to be everywhere and nowhere, a DNA that could be found under the fingernails of everybody's hands. DUNBAR, by Edward St. Aubyn. (Hogarth, $26.) In this latest entry in Hogarth's series of contemporary reimaginings of Shakespeare's plays, "King Lear" is recast as a struggle for control over an irascible father's corporate empire. St. Aubyn's version, not unlike the play itself, turns out to be a thriller. THE POWER, by Naomi Alderman. (Little, Brown, $26.) In the future of this fierce and unsettling novel, the ability to generate a dangerous electrical force from their bodies lets women take control, resulting in a vast, systemic upheaval of gender dynamics across the globe. BLACK DAHLIA, RED ROSE: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder, by Piu Eatwell. (Liveright, $26.95.) An account of the brutal killing of a beautiful young woman that also delves into the broader culture of postWorld-War-II Los Angeles. "Her story," Eatwell writes, became "a fable illustrating the dangers posed to women" by Hollywood. AFTER THE ECLIPSE: A Mother's Murder, a Daughter's Search, by Sarah Perry. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27.) This memoir moves swiftly along on parallel tracks of mystery and elegy, as Perry searches through the extensive police files pertaining to her mother's murder, when Perry was 12. THE DARK NET, by Benjamin Percy. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.) The fate of the world in Percy's novel depends on the ability of a motley gang of misfits to head off the satanic forces emanating from the murkiest recesses of the internet. GHOST OF THE INNOCENT MAN: A True Story of Trial and Redemption, by Benjamin Rachlin. (Little, Brown, $27.) Rachlin writes about Willie Grimes, imprisoned for 24 years for a sexual assault he did not commit, in this captivating, intimate profile. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [August 30, 2019]
Review by Booklist Review
In this fast-paced demonic cyber-thriller, Percy has a sinister take on the deepest parts of our digital lives: much of who we are as living, breathing humans is actually being infiltrated by every device we touch. Anxiety and fear are set up from the opening pages as we are quickly introduced to a ragtag group of misfit heroes: Hannah, a young blind girl getting brand new technology that will allow her to see; Lela, her technophobic reporter aunt; Mike, a homeless-shelter manager; and Cheston, a computer hacker with a nefarious employer. They discover that strange happenings all stem from the founding of the Internet, and that this foundation is laid upon the backs of ancient demons who have been interfering with mankind for millennia. Dark Net can get gruesome, and the body count is high, but Percy keeps it suspenseful and compelling from the first page. The authentic Portland, Oregon, setting with a pivotal scene in Powell's Bookstore is also a draw. Think twice before accessing this on an e-reader, unless you think can handle the extra layer of terror.--Spratford, Becky Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
An unlikely group of misfits battles supernatural evil in Percy's blend of fantasy and SF. In near-future Portland, Ore., 12-year-old Hannah is fitted with a prosthetic to allow her to overcome her incipient blindness; Lela, a work-obsessed journalist, hunts a big story in the Pearl District's blood-soaked Rue Apartments; and Mike, famed as a child for his (false) claims about near-death experiences involving Jesus and angels, tries to atone for his sins by sheltering Portland's homeless. Around them cluster a swarm of malevolent bluebottle-like spirits, which are held off by secondary characters for most of the book. Then Hannah is swept into the Dark Net, the horrific digital hell below the Deep Net that underlies the Internet, and Lela and Mike must help her save Portland from demonic possession. Percy (Thrill Me) notes in the acknowledgements that he tried to ground his novel in reality; there's an abundance of local Portland color and an overabundance of technical detail bogging down his lurid prose. Nonetheless, fans of cyberpunk and occult-flavored fiction may enjoy this outlandish nonreligious fable of good and evil. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown Ltd. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
There's a deep global net in the virtual world, accessed only by those wishing to remain anonymous. Black-market trading and illicit dealings occur here, along with programs that provide prurient services. Keeping their operations vital but nearly untraceable is the task of people who are well paid to keep these servers up and running. What happens when demonic forces acquire log-in abilities at these dark levels? Can a computer hacker, a onetime child evangelist, a technophobic journalist, and a little girl with prosthetic eyes come to grips with hell on earth if it's only a keystroke away? VERDICT Percy (The Dead Lands) turns in a fast-paced dark thriller with crisp, honest dialog and well-imagined characters. His premise is fanciful yet anchored in believability. [See Prepub Alert, 2/27/17.]-Russell Miller, Prescott P.L., AZ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
In Percy's (Thrill Me, 2016, etc.) techno-horror thriller, a small band of misfits must counteract a full-scale demon possession of Portland, Oregon.Below the internet we use every day lurks a violent and terrible place known as the Dark Net. This is where people come to satisfy their most destructive and perverted desires, and, according to Percy, it's naturally where demons would go when working to possess people in the 21st century. While the demons in question begin by possessing the bodies of humans in order to physically manipulate and control technology, their ultimate quest is nothing less than complete domination of the human race, to be achieved through torture and mass murder. And the only people who can stop it are a 12-year-old blind girl, two demon hunters "on the spectrum" (meaning they have supernatural tendencies of their own), and an intrepid reporter. Percy's vision rather obviously offers commentary on our contemporary lifestyle: "People fuss so much about what they eat.But they don't worry as much about what they consume online." Once the demon virus is released from the Dark Net, anyone accessing our everyday staplesNetflix, Tinder, Googlebecomes a homicidal maniac. Percy takes the darkest conspiracy theories you can imagine and makes them the stuff of nightmares. Oh, and all this happens on Halloween, "the fall climaxa time of reaping harvest, of accounting." Humankind is held responsible for its irresponsibility, paying the price for all the convenience we take for granted, for our obsession with the digital world. While the message is effective and scary, though, the characters and the writing fall short of mesmerizing. Who says science and religion are incompatible? There's something undeniably creepy about the thought that your smartphone can possess you. A gory cautionary tale. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.