A pleasant and well-executed crime drama.

TROPICAL DECEPTION

A PANCHO MCMARTIN LEGAL THRILLER

From the Pancho McMartin series , Vol. 4

A lawyer—defending a client accused of murder—gets drawn into a murky conspiracy that involves the mob, Russian corruption, and a lucrative business deal in this fourth installment of a series.

When Peter Roosevelt is shot dead in his Hawaii home, the obvious suspect is Wayson Takei, a successful businessman infamous for his “world-class temper.” Peter was sleeping with Wayson’s wife, Lei, who had just left her husband and filed for divorce, a humiliation that provoked wounded pride more than jealousy in the entrepreneur. Furthermore, the gun used to kill Peter belongs to Wayson, the last contribution to a pile of evidence that lands him in jail, held on a prohibitive $2 million bail. Pancho McMartin, a private attorney and the star of this series, takes on Wayson as a client and quickly discovers another possibility: that Peter’s murder had something to do with a business deal he effectively thwarted, a multimillion-dollar development project he opposed on environmental grounds. Peter’s neighbor Barry Williamson was among the principal architects of the deal and stood to lose everything. Even more suspicious is the involvement of Las Vegas businessman Joe Malen, a “shady character” with ties to organized crime who may have once been a Russian oligarch. Robinson packs the novel’s plot with a generous measure of action, and the tale maintains an enjoyably brisk pace. This is a legal thriller with an intriguing political dimension—ultimately the Russian element of the story ties into a corrupt American governor—but it avoids any pretensions to literary greatness or even nuance. The author’s goal seems to be the production of easily digestible entertainment and some artfully crafted suspense, both of which are ably provided.

A pleasant and well-executed crime drama.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-948749-67-1

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Terra Nova Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2020

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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