Experienced readers will have little trouble solving the mystery, but the likable characters and Edie’s slow progress in...


Two wildly different ladies are challenged by yet another death in the Amish community of Blue Sky.

Since Kappy King and her best friend, Edie Peachy, have already solved several murders (Kappy King and the Pickle Kaper, 2018, etc.), police officer Jack Jones isn’t surprised when they stick their noses into a new tragedy. Many rumors abound about why Alma Miller is in the hospital in a coma, but Kappy knows more than most because Jack’s asked her for help in deciphering some words written in flour on Alma’s kitchen floor. Jack thinks these words may be in Pennsylvania Dutch, but Kappy says that they’re in English rendered obscure by Alma’s bad penmanship. Even so, she finds it hard to make sense of what appear to be the words "nine babies" and "ME blue." Edie, who’s been banned by the community for going over to the English world, is attracted to Jack, who’s especially good with her younger brother, Jimmy, a hard worker with Down syndrome who loves animals and helps Edie continue their murdered mother’s beagle-breeding business. Alma was well-liked, but many were jealous of her prizewinning pies—especially Frannie Lehman, who’s tired of finishing second. Since none of the Amish will talk to Edie, Kappy must ask all the questions as they dig into Alma’s background looking for clues to the cryptic message she left. Jack thinks Frannie is the best bet, especially after he learns that the only things missing from Alma’s home are a quilt and her recipe box. This year’s pie contest involves high stakes: One of the judges who represents Mrs. O’Malley’s Pies may want to purchase the recipe for the winning boysenberry pie. Insider knowledge and long memories will help Kappy and Edie solve the crime.

Experienced readers will have little trouble solving the mystery, but the likable characters and Edie’s slow progress in re-embracing her Amish side will keep fans coming back for more.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4201-4301-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Zebra/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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


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

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