Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging-into-your-palms suspense.

YOU WILL KNOW ME

Abbott's latest thriller (The Fever, 2014, etc.) is about everyday lives changed forever by an exceptional individual—in this case an Olympic gymnastics hopeful.

"So many things you never think you'll do until you do them." This speaks volumes of truth for Devon Knox, who forces her body to pick fights with gravity for hours every day. To her mother, Katie, watching from the bleachers, it seems impossible that her daughter will land on her feet, until she does. Devon is extraordinary, and the normal-on-the-surface Knox family can't help but fly toward this one extra-bright light. Devon's dad, Eric, is obsessively devoted to the cause, fundraising constantly for gym BelStars and heading up the booster club. Gregarious Coach T. relies on his star gymnast to attract business; nothing is shinier than having an Olympic hopeful under his wing. But when tragedy strikes and Coach T.'s tumbling-coach niece, Hailey, learns her much-loved boyfriend, Ryan, is dead in a hit-and-run—only a couple of months before Elite Qualifiers—the gym begins to unravel. Devon, especially, can't afford any missteps. Her success relies on structure, and Eric promises he’ll do anything to keep Devon on that golden track. When Hailey starts threatening Devon and the Knoxes' painfully sweet and observant son, Drew, starts talking about things he hears in the night, the whole gym family, Katie especially, begins to wonder just who might've had it in them to mow Ryan down. After all, you never know what you're capable of until you test your limits. With Elite Qualifiers looming, readers will begin to question what they think to be true right alongside the characters. Getting picky, readers will also catch on to one major plot element well before it’s revealed, but Abbott makes the blindness of parents relatable; they come close to collapse on a regular basis from the pressures of their demanding schedules. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to an anomaly is something else entirely.

Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging-into-your-palms suspense.

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-23107-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Readers who despair after a hundred pages that all the plotlines Weaver has launched can’t possibly fit together are...

FALL FROM GRACE

Missing persons specialist David Raker (Never Coming Back, 2014, etc.) goes hunting for a vanished copper and finds a whole lot more in this endless, deeply felt, un-put-downable thriller.

It’s never taken retired DCS Leonard Franks more than two minutes to walk outside to the end of his veranda, grab an armload of firewood, and return inside. So when he doesn’t come back this time, Ellie Franks is disquieted, then thoroughly alarmed when she looks around and sees no trace of him on the deserted Dartmoor landscape around their home. Franks’ daughter, DCI Melanie Craw, may have crossed swords with Raker in the past, but now she grits her teeth and hires him to find her father. The trail, which Raker must follow with no official assistance from Craw and none of her resources or access to official records, entangles him in a number of cases Franks worked for the Met’s Homicide and Serious Crime unit. But what does it have to do with the murder of Pamela Welland nearly 20 years ago? And what’s its connection to a series of flashbacks Weaver provides to a suicidal patient housed in an island psychiatric hospital? As Raker, repeatedly threatened by a sacked police officer who’s evidently pursuing the case for reasons of his own, sinks deeper and deeper into the mystery, he forms a definite idea of who’s responsible for the crimes at its heart. Yet even after he’s pretty sure whodunit, he hasn’t begun to understand the more profound questions of how and why.

Readers who despair after a hundred pages that all the plotlines Weaver has launched can’t possibly fit together are strongly urged to persist. They do indeed all fit together, and the monstrous pattern that emerges is as devastating as in any of Ross Macdonald’s nightmares.

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-56257-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

A plum pudding stuffed with cynical disillusionment, organized and disorganized crime, two Santas, a seasonal miracle, and...

FIELDS WHERE THEY LAY

An unexpectedly rich Christmas gift: the chance to spend the holidays in a fading suburban Los Angeles shopping mall with Junior Bender, the burglar who moonlights as a “detective for crooks.”

Junior doesn’t usually do Christmas. He’s not really into Jesus, peace on Earth, or glad tidings. But a serious spike in pre-holiday shoplifting at the San Fernando Valley’s Edgerton Mall has led Tip Poindexter, of the Edgerton Partnership, to ask Trey Annunziato, the beleaguered but still powerful head of a Valley crime family, to recommend someone to investigate, and she’s recommended Junior (King Maybe, 2016, etc.), who she thinks owes her a favor. Mobbed-up Tip, whom Junior dubs “Vlad the Impeller,” is the client from hell, alternately demanding instant reports and threatening Junior’s 13-year-old daughter, Rina, if he doesn’t get them. And the case itself seems baffling, since all the owners of independent storefronts like Kim’s Kollectables, iShop, Paper Dolls, KissyFace, Sam’s Saddlery, and Time Remembered—virtually all the businesses the exodus of big-box chains has left the Edgerton Mall—have reported that losses have tripled, and the security tapes security chief Wally Durskee shows Junior don’t reveal any distinctive person or persons doing the lifting. As the clock ticks down to the Christmas Eve deadline Tip has imposed on Junior, he bonds with several of the store owners and forms an even closer and more dangerous attachment to Francie DuBois , the friend of his friend Louie the Lost, who saves his life during one of several episodes in which someone shoots at him. As Junior allows, “This is a hell of a Christmas story”—one of the very best since “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”

A plum pudding stuffed with cynical disillusionment, organized and disorganized crime, two Santas, a seasonal miracle, and an ending that earns every bit of its uplift.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61695-746-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Once again, Coben marries his two greatest strengths—masterfully paced plotting that leads to a climactic string of...

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FOOL ME ONCE

Coben (The Stranger, 2015, etc.) hits the bull’s eye again with this taut tale of a disgraced combat veteran whose homefront life is turned upside down by an image captured by her nanny cam.

Recent widows can’t be too careful, and the day she buries the husband who was shot by a pair of muggers in Central Park, Maya Burkett installs a concealed camera in her home to keep an eye on Lily, her 2-year-old daughter, and her nanny, Isabella Mendez , while she’s out at her job as a flight instructor. She’s shocked beyond belief when she checks the footage and sees images of her murdered husband returned from the grave to her den. Confronted with the video, Isabella claims she doesn’t see anything that looks like Joe Burkett, then blasts Maya with pepper spray and takes off with the memory card. Should Maya go to the police? They were no help when her sister, Claire, was killed in a home invasion while she was deployed in the Middle East, and she doesn’t trust Roger Kierce, the NYPD homicide detective heading the investigation of Joe’s murder. Besides, Maya’s already juggling a heavy load of baggage. Whistle-blower Corey Rudzinski ended her military career when he posted footage of her ordering a defensive airstrike that killed five civilians, and she’s just waiting for him to release the audio feed that would damage her reputation even more. So after Kierce drops a bombshell—the same gun was used to shoot both Joe and Claire—Maya launches her own investigation, little knowing that it will link both murders to the death more than 10 years ago of Joe’s brother Andrew and the secrets the wealthy and powerful Burkett family has been hiding ever since.

Once again, Coben marries his two greatest strengths—masterfully paced plotting that leads to a climactic string of fireworks and the ability to root all the revelations in deeply felt emotions—in a tale guaranteed to fool even the craftiest readers a lot more than once.

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-95509-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Relax, enjoy, and marvel anew at the power of unbridled fictional invention.

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RAZOR GIRL

Rejoice, fans of American madness who’ve sought fulfillment in political reportage. South Florida’s master farceur (Skink—No Surrender, 2014, etc.) is back to reassure you that fiction is indeed stranger than truth.

Even though a prefatory note indicates that both the come-hither title and the stuff about giant Gambian pouched rats are rooted in reality, no one but Hiaasen could have dreamed up the complications arising from the collision of Merry Mansfield with talent agent Lane Coolman—a literal collision, since she rams his rented car while shaving her bikini area in the driver's seat of a Firebird. Make that multiple collisions, since Lane turns out to be only the latest victim of Merry and her partner Zeto’s kidnap-for-hire schemes. In this case, he’s the wrong victim, mistaken for beach-replenishment contractor Martin Trebeaux, whose swindling has put him on the wrong side of Calzone crime family capo Dominick "Big Noogie" Aeola. Since Coolman’s being held captive, he can’t be on hand to walk his client Buck Nance, the reality star of Bayou Brethren, though a personal appearance at the Parched Pirate, and Buck goes off script into a racist rant that sparks a demonstration and sends him fleeing, though he's still capable of inspiring Benny Krill, a murderous apprentice racist who dreams of joining him on his show. After laboring in vain to persuade Jon David Ampergrodt, his boss at Platinum Artists Management, as well as Merry and Zeto that he’s worth ransoming, Coolman escapes, but it doesn’t matter: he’s still confined in the zoo that’s Key West, where liability lawyer Brock Richardson’s fiancee loses the $200,000 ring he didn’t bother to resize after his fatter former fiancee returned it, and when his neighbor, health inspector Andrew Yancy, discovers it, he hides it in the hummus in the hope that an indefinite search for the bauble will stall Richardson’s plan to build a McMansion that will obstruct Yancy’s sea view. Etc. How can Hiaasen possibly tie together all this monkey business in the end? His delirious plotting is so fine-tuned that preposterous complications that would strain lesser novelists fit right into his antic world.

Relax, enjoy, and marvel anew at the power of unbridled fictional invention.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-34974-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

The result is one of those rare thrillers that really will keep you reading all night, especially if you pack it to take on...

THE WIDOWER'S WIFE

A dogged insurance investigator suspects that a perfect wife’s accidental death was anything but. He doesn’t know the half of it.

Even after they both lost their jobs, Tom and Ana Bacon seemed to have it all—good looks, a great home, a wonderful 3-year-old daughter—until Ana fell from the deck of their cruise ship into the waters of the Caribbean a few months after taking out a $5 million insurance policy with a double indemnity clause. Three months later, Tom’s waiting impatiently for Insurance Strategy and Investment to pay up, while Ryan Monahan, a statistics-smitten investigator who was retired from the NYPD by a gunshot, is determined to do his best to make sure his company doesn’t have to. His job won’t be easy. Although he had a strong motive to kill a wife who may have been worth more dead than alive, Tom’s also got a strong alibi: three people saw him at the ship’s pool when his wife went over the side. Nor is it easy to believe that Ana, who’d just discovered that she was pregnant, would have killed herself, even with 5 million reasons, even though her body has never turned up. Holahan (Dark Turns, 2015) alternates chapters detailing Ryan’s patient, thorough investigation with flashbacks to Ana’s point of view in the days leading up to her death, or maybe just her disappearance. It’s a structural cliché that hardly ever works, but this time it does thanks to Holahan’s uncanny skill in pacing her intertwined stories and doling out complications in both of them with a master’s hand.

The result is one of those rare thrillers that really will keep you reading all night, especially if you pack it to take on your next Caribbean cruise.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62953-765-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

With a terrific new hero built for the long run, Hamilton stands to gain new followers—especially if Hollywood's plans to...

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THE SECOND LIFE OF NICK MASON

When hard-nosed Chicagoan Nick Mason is sprung from an Indiana prison after serving only five years of a 25-year–to-life sentence, he's hardly done paying for a killing he did not commit.

When he gets out, Mason must do the bidding of Darius Cole, the feared inmate who used cartel-like connections to get his conviction reversed. A stoic along the lines of Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Mason agrees to the deal out of a fervent desire to see his ex-wife and young daughter before the girl is too old to remember him. A seasoned criminal before he was out of his teens, he had gone straight to raise his family only to be talked into taking part in one last heist. One dead Drug Enforcement Administration agent and one dead friend later, he was in a maximum security unit, refusing to name the fed's real killer. Now, set up by Cole in a swanky, fully stocked pad in Lincoln Park—a far cry from the Irish South Side neighborhood in which he grew up—Mason has barely settled in when he's directed to shoot a man in a motel room. That assignment goes better than a surprise visit to his family in the leafy suburbs, where his remarried wife won't let him see their daughter. Meanwhile, Mason is obsessively tailed by Sandoval, a cop with a checkered history of his own. Chicago has rarely served as a better backdrop for a crime novel, both with its diverse qualities and pervasive corruption. A consummate pro known for his Alex McKnight series (Let it Burn, 2013, etc.), Hamilton surpasses himself with Mason, who inspires storytelling of the leanest, most gripping sort.

With a terrific new hero built for the long run, Hamilton stands to gain new followers—especially if Hollywood's plans to adapt the book come to fruition.

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-57432-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Again proving himself one of today's top thriller writers, Koryta creates edgy suspense not with trickery but with...

RISE THE DARK

Having escaped certain death in Indiana's scariest caves in Last Words (2015), private investigator Mark Novak returns to his old haunts in Montana in pursuit of the man who murdered his wife in Cassadaga, Florida—a strange town known for its psychics.

The suspected killer, Garland Webb, released from a sexual-assault prison sentence on technicalities, has joined a crackpot cult in Montana bent on bringing down the electrical grid—and blaming it on Islamic terrorists. The group, which has a misguided reverence for alternating-current legend Nikola Tesla, includes Novak's long-estranged mother, Violet, a psychic reader who claims she has Native American blood. Arriving in the mountains, where other members of his loopy, boozing, troublemaking family live, Novak encounters Jay Baldwin, a former lineman whose wife, Sabrina, has been abducted by the messianic villain Eli Pate, the cult's leader. Pate threatens to kill her unless Jay takes apart selected high-voltage lines—a dangerous task made more frightening by Jay's memory of his brother and fellow lineman getting electrocuted on such a climb. After a female Pinkerton agent Novak is working with is captured and chained to the wall next to Sabrina, the PI turns for help to his Uncle Larry, Violet's shotgun-bearing brother. Like most of the characters, Larry is a lot more interesting than the flatly affected Novak. But as with his spellbinding 2014 effort, Those Who Wish Me Dead, Koryta employs the desolate Montana setting with such mastery and deep sense of mystery that it's a compelling character itself. And with an intriguing coda that reverberates with themes of family, myth, and psychic possibility, this new novel leaves us keenly anticipating the next installment of the Novak saga.

Again proving himself one of today's top thriller writers, Koryta creates edgy suspense not with trickery but with characters who test the limits of their courage.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-29383-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

A dark thriller for difficult times.

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THE BLACK WIDOW

A fitting (supposedly) final mission for one of fiction’s greatest spies.

A bomb explodes in the Marais district of Paris, a region known for its large Jewish population. One of the victims had a personal connection to Gabriel Allon, the man poised to become the next chief of Israel’s intelligence service, and that’s why the legendary assassin and spy joins the hunt for a terrorist mastermind known only as Saladin. Allon has been trying to escape his past since he first appeared in The Kill Artist (2000), so it’s no surprise that Silva must provide a lure if he’s going to get his hero back into the field for one last mission. But the 16th installment in this series is marked by a subtle shift in emphasis. Allon remains as compelling as ever, but Silva is clearly preparing readers for a world in which his hero takes a supporting role. Two members of Allon’s team—Mikhail Abramov and Dina Sarid—seem poised to play a larger part in future novels. But it’s Allon’s newest recruit who takes center stage here. Dr. Natalie Mizrahi is a French-born Israeli. As Leila Hadawi, the daughter of Palestinian refugees, Natalie becomes part of the terrorist network ruled by Saladin. This is not the first time agents have gone undercover in one of Silva’s novels, but Natalie’s experience is the most harrowing. A Jew hiding in the heart of the so-called caliphate, she knows that a single misstep will result in her own horrific death. More than that, she knows that failure to complete her mission will mean hundreds—if not thousands—more deaths. Before he became a novelist, Silva was a journalist stationed in the Middle East. His Gabriel Allon novels have tracked—and, in some cases, anticipated—the rise of the Islamic State group. In his foreword, he notes that he began writing this story before the Paris attacks of 2015.

A dark thriller for difficult times.

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-232022-3

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

A chilling story that's also filled with hope—a beloved Penny trademark.

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A GREAT RECKONING

Within a police force, some members must be trained in the science, and art, of solving murders. But does this training create people highly capable of committing them?

In Penny’s 12th Gamache novel, the former chief inspector takes up a new post. He’s not back to active investigating—not after finally having the chance to heal in the Québécois village of Three Pines. But he can’t pass up the chance to complete his yearslong fight to end corruption within the Sûreté. By taking the job as commander of the Sûreté Academy, he can clean the rot from its wealthiest source—the impressionable minds of cadet trainees. But Gamache makes a questionable decision in choosing to fight fire with fire. He decides to keep the most corrupt staff member, Serge “the Duke” Leduc, the former No. 2 of the Academy. Gamache’s choices verge on madness when he announces he will also bring on Michel Brébeuf—the original domino to fall within the Sûreté—as an example of how corruption can ruin you. In his lessons, Gamache invites his cadets to internalize these mottos: “Don't trust everything you think”—words for bettering their minds and investigative skills—as well as “a man's foes shall be they of his own household,” from Matthew 10:36—words of warning for what they may face ahead. These lessons become all too relevant when the Duke is found murdered and it’s clear the murderer is one of them. And then a copy of an old map is found at the crime scene, the same map Gamache is using as an exercise with four cadets he has brought under his wing and into his home (one lost soul in particular, freshman Amelia Choquet). Gamache is forced to accept that Leduc’s grip on the Academy is stronger and more suffocating than he thought possible. Is the household he has vowed to protect more unsafe than ever before? Young, learning minds are precious things, and Penny is here to make us aware of the evil out there, eager for a chance to mold—and poison—them.

A chilling story that's also filled with hope—a beloved Penny trademark.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-02213-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Mackintosh has written the kind of book that sticks in the reader’s mind well after the final sentence.

I LET YOU GO

When a 5-year-old boy is killed in a hit-and-run accident, the police find themselves with a sensational case and one woman discovers an emptiness that she may never fill in Mackintosh’s engrossing debut.

When Jacob dies on a Bristol, England, road after letting go of his mother’s hand as they walk home from school on a wet and nasty day, the driver of the car that hit him keeps on going. His death spurs DI Ray Stevens and his colleagues Kate, a new addition to the Criminal Investigations Division, and Stumpy, a longtime detective, to pull out all the stops looking for the killer. Meanwhile, Jenna, haunted by the boy's death, pulls up stakes and moves to the tiny coastal town of Penfach, Wales. She’s planning not to start over as much as simply get by, finding refuge in a small cliffside cottage and spending her time trying to erase memories of the terrible incident; she starts to return to some semblance of a real life, with a dog and a slowly developing relationship. Back in Bristol, the very married Ray finds himself drawn to Kate, while his wife, former fellow cop Mags, suspects there may be something going on. Using multiple points of view, Mackintosh, a former U.K. deputy inspector, delivers an accurate portrayal of a typical police investigation, including the tedious processes law enforcement officers often use to identify and track down witnesses. Mackintosh’s excellent writing features both memorable characters and a compelling portrayal of the eccentricities of small-town life in a close-knit community. But the author’s real skill is in the way she incorporates jaw-dropping, yet plausible, plot twists into the already complex storyline.

Mackintosh has written the kind of book that sticks in the reader’s mind well after the final sentence.

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-98749-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

Filled with raw power, this may be the darkest thriller of the year.

LIVIA LONE

An explosive thriller that plunges into the sewer of human smuggling.

Billy Barnett picks up Livia Lone in a bar, figuring her for an easy, like-it-or-not lay. But she’s set up this known predator and kills him. She is a Seattle sex-crimes cop who secretly murders scum the legal system hasn’t sufficiently punished. “She respected the system…and if the system didn’t get them [victims] justice, she would get them justice another way.” After this brisk opening, we plunge into Livia's back story. In Thailand her parents sell 13-year-old Labee and her 11-year-old sister, Nason, who become separated on arriving in the U.S. in a shipping container. Labee is adopted and renamed Livia, becoming the sex slave of prominent businessman Fred Lone. At school she befriends Sean, who stutters and capably defends himself against bullies. Their friendship leads to her learning jujitsu and judo, skills that come to help define her, end her abuse, and end many men’s lives. One scene, not unique, goes from “he was between her naked legs” to “His eyes rolled up, his tongue flopped loose, and his body went limp on top of her.” And she’s plenty smart enough to keep her name out of any investigations and not leave any traceable patterns. Livia determines that “she was never going to be ruled by fear again.” As an adult she becomes a cop in a Seattle PD sex crimes unit so she can hunt monsters who sexually abuse children “and put them in prison forever. Or else put them in the ground.” Over the years she never stops trying to find out what happened to Nason, an insatiable desire that’s a driving force in the plot. Eisler (The God's Eye View, 2016, etc.) writes sex scenes that are intense and disturbing, and the villains deserve all the pain Livia Lone can inflict.

Filled with raw power, this may be the darkest thriller of the year.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5039-3965-3

Page Count: 395

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

A gut-wrenching tale filled with empathy for alienated teens. This may be the best yet in a first-rate series.

THE WATCHER IN THE WALL

A fast-paced thriller in which Windermere and Stevens (The Stolen Ones, 2015, etc.) must stop the Internet predator who’s persuading teens to commit suicide.

FBI agent Carla Windermere partners again with Special Agent Kirk Stevens of Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Adrian Miller, a high school classmate of Stevens’ daughter, commits suicide, and soon both agents are searching for possible connections with other suicides. Someone is putting the kids up to it, and readers soon see who. “It started with the hole in the wall” for 15-year-old Randall Gruber, who spied on his stepsister, Sarah, in their double-wide trailer and “resented that she was so happy.” Stepdad Earl terrorized Randall, who found a way to secretly goad Sarah into committing suicide, which he watched with great pleasure through the hole. Meanwhile, the agents discover that someone is targeting alienated teenagers on the online Death Wish forum and grooming them for self-destruction. He tells them that he's fed up with life, too, and says they should kill themselves together. But first he has to watch them do it, via a webcam: "I need to watch you or I won't have the guts to do it myself." It's Gruber, of course, though the agents don't know it yet; after the kids commit suicide, he sells the videos. Windermere and Stevens set up a fake profile to lure the predator and rescue the teens. They’re relentless, especially Windermere, who barely contains her fury. She even browbeats a judge into admitting the issue is criminal activity and not free speech. And when Gruber thinks he has the best of Windermere, she keeps coming at him—“The bitch just wouldn’t take a hint.” No indeed, and that’s why her colleagues call her Supercop and why she's such a wonderful series character. Either she or the perp is going down, and it damned well won’t be her. She’s African-American, by the way, but that factors little into the series so far.

A gut-wrenching tale filled with empathy for alienated teens. This may be the best yet in a first-rate series.

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17454-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

Hopefully, this is just the first adventure of many Steiner (Homecoming, 2013) will write for DS Bradshaw and her team.

MISSING, PRESUMED

A new and complex police heroine tries to solve a high-profile missing persons case while seeking domestic fulfillment in Cambridge.

Thirty-nine and single, DS Manon Bradshaw is feeling the burn of loneliness. As she pursues dead-end date after dead-end date, her personal life seems a complete disaster, but her professional interest and energy are piqued when the beautiful graduate-student daughter of a famous physician goes missing, apparently the victim of foul play. As the investigation into free-spirited Edith Hind’s disappearance uncovers no strong leads, Manon finds herself drawn to two unconventional males: one, a possible romantic partner, plays a tangential role in the investigation when he finds a body; the other, a young boy with a tragic home life, mourns the death of his brother, who also might have ties to Edith or her family. As Manon draws nearer to the truth about Edith, aided by her idealistic partner, Davy, and their team of homicide detectives, she also has to face the fact that she might not be destined to follow the traditional domestic model. Though it follows all the typical twists and turns of a modern police procedural, this novel stands out from the pack in two significant ways: first of all, in the solution, which reflects a sophisticated commentary on today’s news stories about how prejudices about race and privilege play out in our justice system; and second, in the wounded, compassionate, human character of Manon. Her struggles to define love and family at a time when both are open to interpretation make for a highly charismatic and engaging story.

Hopefully, this is just the first adventure of many Steiner (Homecoming, 2013) will write for DS Bradshaw and her team.

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9832-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Colorful and appealing (or appalling) characters make this one a winner for crime-fic fans.

BLIND SIGHT

The twelfth in a series of clever crime novels featuring scary-smart Kathy Mallory (It Happens in the Dark, 2013, etc.).

On the streets of New York City, a nun and a 12-year-old boy go missing and may have been kidnapped. Sister Michael’s real name is Angela Quill, and—oh my!—she's a former prostitute, not your typical nun’s career path. The boy is Jonah Quill, who has been blind from birth. Also, four corpses are dumped on the mayor’s lawn at Gracie Mansion. The victims’ hearts have been surgically removed, prompting a cop to say that “the freak takes trophies.” Special Crimes Unit detectives Mallory and Riker think otherwise. Meanwhile, the hearts wind up in City Hall, and the mayor wants them quietly disposed of. An aide tosses them in the river, thinking “How buoyant could human hearts be?” Meanwhile, Iggy (don’t call him Ignatius) Conroy tries to decide whether to cut Jonah’s heart out. Captor and captive have interesting exchanges about the abilities of blind people. You must see something, Iggy insists to Jonah. You must dream about something. And Iggy explains the Catholic practice of confession—say so many Hail Marys for this or that sin, and bingo, you’re absolved. “How many Hail Marys for killing a nun?” Jonah wants to know. He is an intelligent, resourceful boy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to survive. Hearts, corpses, and the mayor’s office connect somehow with Jonah’s disappearance, so Mallory and Riker had best hurry to find the lad alive. As in previous novels, Mallory’s quirky personality shows “just a hint of crazy,” and sometimes, to unnerve people, she drops “every pretense of being human.” She’s an entertaining, slightly over-the-top protagonist with brains and attitude.

Colorful and appealing (or appalling) characters make this one a winner for crime-fic fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-18423-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Tucker raises the stakes and ramps up the darkness in this series and makes you wonder, and even worry a little about,...

ONLY THE HUNTED RUN

A mass slaughter in the Capitol building sets off this third tense and twitchy installment in the adventures of investigative reporter Sully Carter.

Any Washington, D.C. resident with common sense knows that the nation’s capital is the last place you want to be at the peak of summer, with its swampy air mass and the kind of heat that’s “a hammer [hitting] you in the face.” Nevertheless, Sully is carrying out a routine newspaper assignment beneath the Capitol dome when sounds of gunfire and screaming shatter the doldrums. Sully’s war-correspondent instincts kick in as he weaves around the dead and dying toward the shooting’s source. What he eventually finds is even more horrific: the bound-and-gagged corpse of an Oklahoma congressman with ice picks protruding from both eye sockets. He also hears as the shooter calls 911 and gives his name as Terry Waters before making a clean getaway from police. Things become more bizarre between Waters’ escape and eventual arrest as he seems to adopt Sully, via phone, as his intermediary to authorities. (The gunman finds out that he and Sully have something in common: they both, at very young ages, lost their mothers to violence.) After Waters is indicted, he is committed to D.C.’s notorious St. Elizabeths mental hospital. Sully’s editors dispatch him to Oklahoma for more background on the killer, maybe even a motive. Sully finds all of that and more, far more, than he or anybody else expects, including the reader. What seems at the outset to be an exercise in formulaic “psycho killer” pyrotechnics becomes in Tucker’s hands an ingenious, expectation-trumping mystery that doesn’t scrimp on suspense or shock tactics. Those who have, after this novel’s two predecessors (Murder, D.C., 2015, etc.), become enamored with the embittered but urbane journalist may find less of his complicated personal life here. But they will find plenty more reasons to admire and even like Sully Carter.

Tucker raises the stakes and ramps up the darkness in this series and makes you wonder, and even worry a little about, what’s coming next.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-42942-5

Page Count: 277

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Kope’s fascinating debut will place Steps Craig alongside Walt Longmire, Jack Reacher, and Charlie Parker as an enduring...

COLLECTING THE DEAD

A quirky hero who chases the worst of serial killers with a bit of supernatural help makes Kope’s debut novel a winner.

Magnus “Steps” Craig can see people when they’re not there. Well, not really. What Steps sees is what he and his FBI partner, Jimmy Donovan, refer to as “shine.” It’s like a colorful, textured left-behind residue that envelops everyone Steps meets; and each person’s shine is totally his or her own. Steps and Jimmy are the heart of the Special Tracking Unit of the FBI, which looks for lost and abducted people and the criminals who take them. For years, Steps has searched unsuccessfully for a terrible killer he knows as Leonardo, who leaves his victims posed like DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. But, so far, that killer’s remained at large. Now Steps and Jimmy, working out of their Washington state headquarters, are chasing a serial murderer they’ve dubbed The Sad Face Killer—a particularly vicious man who abducts young women, keeps them captive for a while, then brutally kills them. Steps knows the murderer’s shine and those of his victims, and he and Jimmy follow him from state to state and county to county, trying to catch him before he slays his latest captive. Kope, a professional crime analyst, brings a refreshing authenticity to his work, then raises the stakes several notches by giving Steps, from whose point of view the story unravels, a unique, funny, and intriguing voice. Crammed with characters who will capture readers' attention and writing that leaves much of the field in the dust, Kope’s novel features a character who is different, talented, sympathetic, and gifted with great heart. He’s surrounded by both ultracompetent investigative staffers and the worst criminals humanity has to throw at him. The combination is a winning one.

Kope’s fascinating debut will place Steps Craig alongside Walt Longmire, Jack Reacher, and Charlie Parker as an enduring literary hero.

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07287-0

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

For fans of etiquette-flouting heroines who desire truth while being true to their desires—gastronomic, romantic, and...

A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN

What if the word’s most famous (and eccentric) Victorian detective were a young gentlewoman in the midst of a scandal?

Gender bending is just the first sign that unusual happenings are afoot in this origin story for a revamped Sherlock Holmes series by bestselling author Thomas (The Perilous Sea, 2015, etc.). The novel begins in 1886 England with the foreshadowing of a suspicious death, but the incident is only one of many seemingly unrelated events that form a pattern over the succeeding chapters. Weaving them together is amateur sleuth Charlotte Holmes, who is also an inadvertent participant in them due to a social catastrophe she precipitated for personal reasons. The novel is peopled with characters who warm the reader with a glow of recognition—Watson, Lestrade, Mycroft, and Moriarty all appear in some form—but Thomas also imbues them with personalized histories and characteristics. Holmes herself is cast in the mold of the recent television incarnations of Conan Doyle’s savant as well as Deanna Raybourn’s detectives, Lady Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell—with an added devotion to food that lends her an unexpected charm. There is also a tantalizing, slow-burn love story between Holmes and a longtime friend befitting Thomas' skills as a romance novelist. The mystery itself is conducted long distance and through a trick necessitated by the gender-flipping; while competently handled, its intricacy is less gripping than the gradual reveal of a new Holmes-ian world and its inhabitants. The ground has been laid well for future incidents in the professional and intimate life of Charlotte Holmes.

For fans of etiquette-flouting heroines who desire truth while being true to their desires—gastronomic, romantic, and cerebral.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-425-28140-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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