Plenty of details about the Amish lifestyle and a more complex mystery than the heroine’s first case.

A quiet Amish community is rattled by the death of a young girl.

Even though she makes the kapps (women's head coverings) for her community of Blue Sky, Pennsylvania, Kappy King has always been a marginal figure. Perhaps that’s why she’s befriended flamboyant Edie Peachey and her brother, Jimmy, who has Down syndrome. Edie’s under a bann after leaving the church and living as an Englischer, but when her mother was murdered, she came home to care for Jimmy and helped Kappy solve the mystery (Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper, 2017). After Sally June Esh’s buggy is run off the road and she’s killed while making the family pickle delivery, Edie gets a series of cryptic texts hinting that the death was no accident. Edie refuses to show the texts to detective Jack Jones, knowing that he’ll confiscate her phone; instead, she and Kappy decide to do a little sleuthing on their own. But there’s a problem. Although Edie’s dedicated to her brother and respects his love for their little farm and dog breeding business, she may not be ready to return to the church, and until she does, no one but Kappy will talk to her. All the while, Kappy’s still trying to decide whether she should marry Hiram, the widower of her best friend. Hiram’s particularly worried about his younger brother, Willie, who’s often taken off on adventures but this time is gone longer than usual. Kappy’s also attracted to Silas Hershberger, whose aunt has just moved back from Lancaster and wants to establish her own pickles as supreme. Would Bettie Hershberger really kill someone over pickles? Kappy and Edie travel by buggy and car all over the valley attending everything from funerals to rock concerts while trying to figure out whether Sally June’s death was accident or murder.

Plenty of details about the Amish lifestyle and a more complex mystery than the heroine’s first case.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4201-4299-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Zebra/Kensington

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018


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


As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...

Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.

According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.

As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-60290-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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