Roslund’s fourth has punchy prose and plot twists that readers expecting another brooding Scandinavian noir won’t see coming.

KNOCK KNOCK

A veteran Swedish detective is forced to revisit the most disturbing case of his career.

After Detective Ewert Grens carried 5-year-old Zana Lilaj from the scene of her family’s massacre, he investigated the crime in vain, even with Zana as an eyewitness. Seventeen years later, DI Grens, who’s on the verge of retirement, can’t refuse the request of his abrasive boss, Mariana Hermansson, to investigate a burglary that's just occurred at the same address. His hopes that this is a coincidence are dashed when he discovers that his notes on the earlier crime have been stolen from the locked police archive. He soon determines that Zana’s life is in danger. Meanwhile, former police informant Piet Hoffmann revels in the domestic bliss of life with his wife, Zofia, and their three young children following his criminal past. All this is shattered when he sees his son Rasmus playing with a hand grenade that arrived in a package addressed to the boy. This unsubtle message is followed by even more literal and threatening ones. After Piet takes his family into hiding, he appeals to his old friend Grens. Although Roslund deftly brings the two cases together, readers hooked by the high stakes and urgency in the early chapters may be impatient with set pieces and narrow escapes that feel like smoke. When Grens finally locates Zana in a new location with a new identity, he’s in for a surprise that adds yet another wrinkle to the case.

Roslund’s fourth has punchy prose and plot twists that readers expecting another brooding Scandinavian noir won’t see coming.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18821-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

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THE ORDER

A legendary spy takes a vacation—or tries to, anyway—in Silva’s 20th Gabriel Allon novel.

Gabriel is trying to enjoy some rest and relaxation with his family in Venice when he learns that an old friend has died. As it happens, this old friend was Pope Paul VII, and it’s not long before Allon is summoned by the pontiff’s personal secretary. Archbishop Luigi Donati has reason to believe that the Holy Father did not die a natural death. For each of the past several summers, Silva has delivered a thriller that seems to be ripped from the headlines. This latest book feels, at first, like something of a throwback. Palace intrigue at the Vatican might seem quaint compared to Islamist extremism or Russia’s rise as an international influence, but Silva makes it relevant and compelling. Allon discovers that the most likely culprits in the death of the pope are connected to far-right leaders throughout Europe, and the rediscovery of a lost Gospel sheds new light on Christian anti-Semitism. The villains here are Catholic traditionalists—Silva’s imaginary Paul VII looks a lot like the real-life Francis I—and “populist” politicians who appeal to nativist, anti-globalist sympathies. As Silva looks at European contempt for a new wave of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, he finds a model for this xenophobia in ancient hatred of the Jewish people, an antipathy that has its roots in the New Testament. He interjects a few Bible studies lessons and offers a bit of history as background; these passages add depth without impeding the forward momentum of the plot. Readers familiar with this series may notice the evolution of a motif introduced a few novels ago: In the world of Gabriel Allon, the United States has receded from relevance on the world stage.

Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-283484-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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