PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...is [forensic science] really as accurate and efficient as we’d like to believe? Caleb Carr’s latest crime fiction novel, Surrender, New York shines a critical light on that notion and manages to make a few other powerful statements along the way ... L.T. and Mike undoubtedly give off that Sherlock and Watson vibe, being eccentric and loyal with every page that’s turned. Their chemistry is a strong foundation for the novel ... Mr. Carr keeps a steady momentum of excitement throughout, only being slowed down by the occasional in-depth description or historical factoid ... It is quite graphic, but if you’re able to stomach such heavy material then you’re rewarded with a chilling and suspenseful education on several subjects.
The primary mark against Surrender, New York would be Mr. Carr’s tendency to sometimes lean on conventionality; a few of his plot twists are a little too telegraphed and perfect, seeming to come right out of the aforementioned prime-time shows that he lambastes on several occasions.
Ill WillDan Chaon
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteIll Will [is] the most disturbing novel I’ve ever read ... Mr. Chaon makes you question what parts of that mental chaos is factual and what isn’t as he intertwines the past with present, giving different perspectives from different characters, some in first person narration and some in third. Even the layout of the text gives segments a very disjointed vibe as he fills pages with double columned narrations, email correspondence and text message snippets. It can be very gimmicky at times, but it gives the reader a very shaky ground to stand on, which is exactly how Mr. Chaon wants it ... Anything seedy, sexual, and satanic you can think of, Mr. Chaon manages to conjure it up through the course of the novel. He doesn’t take his foot off your throat until the very end. Reading Ill Will will make you question Mr. Chaon’s intentions with the book title. Although Ill Will puts you through the unsavory ringer, there is no questioning Mr. Chaon’s writing chops.
Last Day On EarthEric Puchner
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteLast Day on Earth consists of nine different stories; one of which takes place in the early 1980s, another in the distant future and the rest in modern times. Both the past ('Brood X') and the futuristic stories ('Beautiful Monsters') are the first and second in the book chronologically, and neither resonate as well as the other seven ... Mr. Puchner really hits his storytelling stride when dealing with realism and revving it up with rash decision-making ... Last Day on Earth carries a wealthy amount of content that is thought-provoking and self-reflecting. You’ll be able to relate to a lot of it, and there will be a lot of times when you wish you hadn’t, but those types of feelings, negative or positive, make the reader consider how precious life truly can be.