The complexities of the case play into Myers’ strength in dealing with complicated relationships (Classic Mistake, 2013,...

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CLASSIC IN THE PITS

A stolen Porsche and a murdered man add up to another case for Jack Colby, car detective.

Jack is appalled to hear that Old Herne’s, a center for classic cars and aviation activities, may be closing down. Before that happens, Jack, a consultant to the police in Kent, England, is asked to investigate the theft of the famous racing Porsche belonging to Mike Nelson, the incompetent manager of Old Herne’s. Jack turns up at Swoosh, which will probably be the last great event held at the club. But when Mike is found killed by an ax and run over by the antique Crossley fire truck that had once served the former RAF base, Jack turns to investigating his murder. Old Herne’s was founded by two interconnected families, the Howells and the Nelsons. American billionaire and former WWII Thunderbolt pilot Arthur Howell may have tired of providing the money the Nelsons are pouring down the drain. The murdered man was the son of Ray Nelson, the widower of 1940s singing sensation Miranda Pryde. Her grandson Jason is doing very well, updating her famous songs for a new generation, and he and his band performed at Swoosh. Mike’s widow, Anna, better known as Boadicea, insists that she’s entitled to either the car or the insurance money. Jack, who must consider both Jason and Anna possible suspects in the theft, turns an altogether different eye on Jessica Hart, the attractive new hire who’s supposed to get Old Herne’s back in the black, despite his continued attachment to Louise, the beautiful film star who dumped him. When Anna is attacked, Jack digs even deeper into the tangled pasts of the two families whose younger members are fighting for control of Old Herne’s.

The complexities of the case play into Myers’ strength in dealing with complicated relationships (Classic Mistake, 2013, etc.). The result is a twisty tale packed with auto lore and family secrets.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8355-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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

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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

THINGS IN JARS

Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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