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Fame is fleeting, but murder’s always exciting in Roker’s latest romp.

Even off the air, celebrity chef Billy Blessing finds his way to A-list adventure.

After scandal ended Billy’s spot on Wake Up, America!, a network morning show, and his restaurant burned down, the chef decamps to the decidedly untrendy North Fork of Long Island to start over. His new place, NoFo Eats, serves classic French dishes, but the clientele is a far cry from the sophisticates Billy entertained before. So when a young woman in a sleek tailored suit turns up at the bar drinking Uncle Nearest 1856, he knows that something must be up. Lisa Cowles admits she’s traveled from Manhattan for more than Billy’s steak au poivre. She wants the chef, who’s got a nose for murder, to investigate the disappearance of her father, fisherman Jack Landry. Landry left Cioffi’s Marina in his little boat several weeks ago headed for Gardiners Island. The sea got rough, and he never returned. Though she spent precious little time with her absentee dad, Lisa still wants to know what happened, and she’s willing to pay handsomely for the information. Since NoFo’s closed for the next week, Billy agrees, and a little poking around with Northold police chief Lola Bristow persuades him there’s something hinky about Landry’s disappearance. Before his investigation gets going, though, his former boss Gretchen Di Voss calls him with big news: streaming service Worldwide wants to launch a cooking show with Billy “front and center.” Worldwide couldn’t care less about the scandal that turned the network against Billy, and they want him back in New York immediately. Weighing Cowles’ hefty retainer against Worldwide’s bonanza and quiet, predictable Northold against the glitzy Big Apple is only the start of a dilemma inside a puzzle inside an enigma that the adventurous Billy faces.

Fame is fleeting, but murder’s always exciting in Roker’s latest romp.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9798200923243

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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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

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The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.

Twenty years after Chloe Davis’ father was convicted of killing half a dozen young women, someone seems to be celebrating the anniversary by extending the list.

No one in little Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was left untouched by Richard Davis’ confession, least of all his family members. His wife, Mona, tried to kill herself and has been incapacitated ever since. His son, Cooper, became so suspicious that even now it’s hard for him to accept pharmaceutical salesman Daniel Briggs, whose sister, Sophie, also vanished 20 years ago, as Chloe’s fiance. And Chloe’s own nightmares, which lead her to rebuff New York Times reporter Aaron Jansen, who wants to interview her for an anniversary story, are redoubled when her newest psychiatric patient, Lacey Deckler, follows the path of high school student Aubrey Gravino by disappearing and then turning up dead. The good news is that Dick Davis, whom Chloe has had no contact with ever since he was imprisoned after his confession, obviously didn’t commit these new crimes. The bad news is that someone else did, someone who knows a great deal about the earlier cases, someone who could be very close to Chloe indeed. First-timer Willingham laces her first-person narrative with a stifling sense of victimhood that extends even to the survivors and a series of climactic revelations, at least some of which are guaranteed to surprise the most hard-bitten readers.

The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2508-0382-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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