Plenty of red herrings and an intimate look at the world of the wealthy and famous make for a rich broth of a mystery.

MURDER AT OCHRE COURT

The magnificent mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, provide the setting for high-society murder in the Gilded Age.

Emma Cross, a society columnist for a New York newspaper, yearns to be an investigative reporter like the famous Nellie Bly. She gets a chance when she’s sent to her hometown of Newport to report on a coming-out ball which will be attended by Silas Griggson, a self-made real estate developer; Silas is of interest because one of his tenements recently collapsed with fatal consequences, a calamity he blamed on a foreman who soon turned up dead. Emma, who counts the Vanderbilts among her relatives but struggles to keep up Gull Manor, the seaside home she inherited from an aunt, has two suitors: Derrick Andrews, wealthy, handsome, and willing to help her solve mysteries (Murder at Chateau su Mer, 2017, etc.), and Jesse Whyte, a Newport detective whose lifestyle is more like her own. At the ball, Emma picks up on uncomfortable undercurrents among the guests. When Cleo Cooper-Smith takes her place on a throne illuminated by electricity, the crowd is wowed until the lights go out. Hastily arranged candlelight reveals that Cleo’s been electrocuted. Although Cleo is not universally loved and has been cruel to her handicapped older sister, her father wants the electrician arrested. Emma, who’s known Dale Hanson for years, is convinced he had nothing to do with the death, which she soon discovers was murder. With friends among the idle rich and ordinary townsfolk alike, Emma is well-placed to dig up clues, and her search takes her from sumptuous mansions to the local Army post, her stubborn, unladylike behavior putting her in danger while she ponders her options.

Plenty of red herrings and an intimate look at the world of the wealthy and famous make for a rich broth of a mystery.

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0336-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

more