English Wall debuts with an ambitiously twisty intellectual adventure especially good for those smitten by—and maybe versed in—the traditions of decadence in art and poetry rooted in the end of the last century. Life isn—t so happy for Tom Lynch after his British father is lost in the 1937 burning of the Hindenburg, especially when his New Jersey mother—vain, shallow, resentful’so much prefers her new boyfriend over her son. But right after WWII, Tom finds himself sent off to prep school in England, where he’s virtually adopted by the school’s fiercely principled (and fiercely Catholic) head, Patrick Grimshaw. Grimshaw introduces Catholic Tom to the long, rancorous, often sectarian history of the Yorkshire moors—and introduces him to something more as well by giving him a copy of Paradise Lost created and illustrated by the artist Alfred Delaquay. Delaquay, a mix of Baudelaire in the depraved and Blake in the visionary, issued his illustrated works in editions of single copies as a protest, in part, against modern philistinism and lack of high principle; and now just to receive one of them—the Dante, Milton, or Blake—requires becoming a member of the secret Delaquay Society and upholding its truths forever, including the vow never ever to gain a penny from Delaquay. When Tom goes to Oxford, though, to study art, his own spiral into drink and compromise doesn—t take long—nor does his expulsion from the Society, once he breaks the code by paying cash—1,000 lbs.—for the Delaquay Baudelaire. Nothing now will keep him—not even the love of piercingly brilliant, brave, beautiful Rachel Fein, lecturer at Oxford—from falling further into depravity in London, even his becoming, in cahoots with a truly amoral and wonderfully limned gallery owner, the producer himself of dozens of fake Delaquays. What awaits tormented Tom in the end, if heavier in plot than in psychology, will displease only few. Profundities—real ones’survive felicitously and well inside an often sordid tale of mystery and high squalor.

Pub Date: June 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-609-60158-X

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Did you like this book?