by Ace Atkins ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2015
The ritualistic series of face-offs will be red meat for franchise fans, and it’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil...
Spenser heads back to the Boston suburbs to help a mother whose son has been arrested for—wait for it—setting up a fake Twitter account.
When you’re the sort of kid who steps out of line in Blackburn, Judge Joe Scali knows what to do with you. Just ask Jake Cotner, who got nine months at the barbaric juvenile camp on Fortune Island for breaking windows in an old warehouse, or Ryan Bell, who did six months for throwing a steak at his crazy stepmother. But Sheila Yates, whose son Dillon has just drawn nine months for “stalking and terrorism” after posting humiliating tweets on an account he set up in the name of Blackburn High Vice Principal Luke Waters, isn’t about to take Dillon’s sentence lying down. She hires Spenser, who assures her, “I would’ve paid you to take this on,” and he goes into overdrive. So does the hanging juvie judge, along with his patron, district judge Gavin Callahan, every cop in Blackburn, and—once Spenser, as foretold by the imprudently spoiler title, has tied the rash of imprisoned kids to a for-profit corporation working hand in hand with the mob—a bunch of hard cases who clearly aren’t impressed by Spenser’s resume (Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot, 2014, etc.). Interpolated scenes at Fortune Island don’t intensify the suspense but simply break up the momentum.The ritualistic series of face-offs will be red meat for franchise fans, and it’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life, even though his rescue of Dillon predictably fails to put much of a dent in even little Blackburn’s prison-for-profit scheme.
Pub Date: May 19, 2015
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: March 2, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
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
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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