Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Release Day Review: Hello Again (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #2) by Brenda Novak

Title: Hello Again (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #2) 
Author: Brenda Novak 
Source: Publisher 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Published: October 3rd, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: New York Times bestseller Brenda Novak's second novel in the Evelyn Talbot series, HELLO AGAIN, sees the return of psychiatrist Dr. Evelyn Talbot in her purpose-built facility housing America's most terrifying psychopaths. This is SILENCE OF THE LAMBS meets Karen Rose...

Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she's about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered--or he is wrongly convicted.

When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends--and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . . .

It’s been almost a year since I last visited Hilltop, Alaska, and Brenda Novak’s intriguing and multifaceted characters. I’ve longed to return to the story not only to see what Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her delicious boyfriend Sergeant Benjamin Murphy, aka Amarok, have been up to but also to check in on another riveting character. I’m reluctant to admit it, but that character is Jasper Moore. Jasper is the ex-boyfriend-turned-serial-killer who tortured Evelyn and her friends for days when they were just teenagers. Jasper was never caught, and Evelyn is the only one of her friends who survived the horrific nightmare. That terrible tragedy is what ultimately led Evelyn to her line of work – studying and unraveling the mysterious minds of psychopaths at the newly established Hanover House. Jasper is not a Dexter Morgan-esque vigilante serial killer – you don’t root for him by any means. He is a terrifying individual, which may be why I feel the need to keep tabs on him. 

In Hello Again, Evelyn is just beginning to work with newly convicted inmate Dr. Lyman Bishop, a man reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter. He is a highly educated biomedical researcher who stands accused of performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims to make them more compliant before killing them; but with new evidence coming to light, it’s possible Dr. Bishop has been wrongly convicted and, if so, could very well have his conviction overturned just as Evelyn has begun to get under his skin. And in the midst of these gripping events, Amarok’s tireless work may have finally paid off in getting him closer to locating Jasper Moore. Or is Jasper the one who is getting closer?

This second installment in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles is an outstanding follow-up to Her Darkest Nightmare, filled with suspense and thrills but still allowing for a more personal storyline with the romantic relationship between Evelyn and Amarok (though I could do without the return of Amarok’s ex-girlfriend…. Can we ship her off to a warmer climate asap?). But it is the ending of this sequel that will leave readers aghast and on the edge of their seat – not a cliffhanger but a glimpse into what’s about to happen next. Those last lines are so brilliant and shocking that I can hardly wait for the next book. Ms. Novak has set it up to be a mind-blowing rollercoaster of a story, and the anticipation is both sweet and agonizing. I recommend this series for thriller lovers, though I advise you to start with book one, Her Darkest Nightmare, to fully appreciate the growth of the characters and the evolvement of the story. You can also grab the short novella Hanover House for a closer look into Evelyn and Jasper’s history for free here or at Amazon for only $.99. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales



  1. Ahh... You make me want to read this, but I have struggled with this author in the past because I am not a fan of her endings. I will look into the first one.

    1. Would you believe this is my first Novak series? So, I can't say how it compares to previous book endings, but I can tell you that the ending of this one is excellent. The main storyline wraps up - so no dreaded cliffhanger - but it leaves you with a shocking (in a good way) start to the next. I think you'll enjoy this series, Heidi :)

  2. I enjoyed this despite some issues. Glad you did as well.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this one, Kimba -- that ending was something else!

  3. Okay I want to read these. I love that there is some romance mixed in and not gonna lie a Hannibal Lecter like villain appeals to me -- plus a cray ex serial killer is cool too. You may convert me to a thriller reader yet., Great review!

  4. this sounds perfect for the fall. Not sure I can squeeze book 1 this october over the large TBR pile, but this strongly makes me want to pick up the series. Just the very fact that it takes place in Alaska is perfect for me


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