Next book


Although the idea isn’t original, the clever way McPherson (Quiet Neighbors, 2016, etc.) reveals each hint of the truth...

A Scottish woman’s psychological history causes her to question her sanity.

Ali and Marco McGovern are refugees from success. Both had flourishing businesses, but Marco’s highflying ambitions crashed, forcing them to sell everything and move with their 15-year-old son, Angelo, to a grungy cottage in Galloway, where Marco announces he’s found a possible job for Ali at Howell Hall, a mental institution looking for a beautician and art therapist. Despite having owned a beauty salon, Ali knows she doesn’t have the credentials, but she lets Marco pad her resume and is hired by Dr. Ferris for a salary large enough to make her suspicious. Marco too finds a job, but their celebrations end when a long-dead body is found at the nearby abbey. The police question Angelo, who often hangs out on the grounds, but can’t charge him because he was only 3 when the unidentified man was murdered. Now the boy's typical teen problems are compounded by a cruel joke played by a girl he fancies. Ali quickly makes friends with most of the Howell Hall staff but not the coldly efficient Dr. Ferris, who leaves the treatment of patients almost entirely to her husband. Ali’s drawn to Sylvie, a young woman who’s been almost catatonic for 15 years but seems taken with her. Another patient with a compelling story is Julia, who claims to have killed her father but seems at times almost too rational. Upset over Angelo’s problems with the police, Ali is aggravated by her husband’s and son's insistence that she keep calm and starts to have doubts about Marco’s reasons for getting her a job she is not equipped to do. She does not understand and is deeply hurt by an estrangement from her parents, which adds another layer to the mystery, and her stressful work makes her worry about her own mental problems, stemming from a breakdown 10 years ago. McPherson is a master at creating psychological tension and doubt about the motives of her characters, so it is no surprise that Ali thinks she hears sounds in her head and is constantly trying to overcome the sense that maybe she is actually going mad. The more details of her earlier breakdown become clear, the harder McPherson makes it to decide whether she’s mentally ill or being cruelly manipulated by unknown people for obscure reasons that will be uncovered in the denouement.

Although the idea isn’t original, the clever way McPherson (Quiet Neighbors, 2016, etc.) reveals each hint of the truth makes this a one-sitting read.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7387-5216-7

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Next book


Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Next book


A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Close Quickview