Beneath the down-home Southern trappings, fans will find Atkins’ customary mixture of political corruption, true-blue...

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THE FALLEN

Reluctantly back in the saddle as the sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, Quinn Colson goes up against a trio of bank robbers as cunning as they are clueless.

Rick Wilcox, Jonas Cord (who’s borrowed his name from that of a notorious Harold Robbins hero), and their buddy Opie have robbery down to a science. They know exactly the best time to move on even modest institutions like the Jericho First National Bank, and they perform each job with military precision. While Cord waits in a disposable stolen truck, the other two enter each target armed with a stopwatch, a pair of assault rifles, two Donald Trump masks, and an unforgettable tagline: “Anyone moves and I’ll grab ‘em by the pussy.” No one generally moves, and the former Marines and their junior partner drive off, ditch their ride and set it afire, and then take off to plot their next caper. Now that they’ve fouled his nest, Quinn would love to catch them, but he and his deputies have their hands full with the disappearance of teenagers Tamika Odum and Ana Maria Mata, county supervisor Skinner’s endless complaints against Vienna’s Place, the strip club Fannie Hathcock runs just outside the city limits, and the trashing of Maggie Powers’ house by somebody, presumably her estranged husband, who didn’t even bother to steal anything. This last crime would barely register on Quinn’s radar if Maggie weren’t a well-nigh forgotten friend he spent summers playing with as a child, an old acquaintance with whom his friendship might well blossom into something else. In between shared meals of catfish and whiskey, though, Quinn keeps being drawn back to Vienna’s Place—and so, it turns out, do the robbers he’s pursuing.

Beneath the down-home Southern trappings, fans will find Atkins’ customary mixture of political corruption, true-blue policing, intimate betrayals, and wholesale violence. The satisfyingly inconclusive ending of this sequel to the equally dark The Innocents (2016) puts a whole new spin on catharsis.

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-57671-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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