The late Camilleri’s antepenultimate novel again combines divinely deadpan drollery with a clever puzzle.

THE SICILIAN METHOD

A thespian is stabbed in the heart. Was the killer sending a message?

Curmudgeonly Inspector Montalbano is awakened in the middle of the night by Detective Mimì Augello, in great distress because his tryst with beautiful Genoveffa Recchia was ruined by the surprise return of her husband, Martino. Escaping onto the balcony, Mimì lowered himself to the apartment below and sneaked into the bedroom, where he discovered a corpse. Montalbano scolds Mimì for hastily leaving the scene. The dead man, Carmelo Catalanotti, seemed, according to his talkative cleaning lady, to have no job and many lady friends. He was likely stabbed elsewhere and moved to his blood-free apartment. Montalbano, Mimì, and Fazio, another veteran detective, begin by questioning all the residents and employees in the building. One shares his belief that the man was a drug dealer. Several folders that document activity surrounding money, maybe as a loan shark, raise many questions and offer few answers. An emotional visit to the police from Rosario Lo Savio that tearfully recounts a final meeting with his friend Carmelo, a key member of an “important” theater company, introduces a crazy cast of high-maintenance suspects. Montalbano’s awkwardness with the opposite sex is on full comic display in his flirtation with the mysterious Antonia, complicated further by his temperamental longtime love, Livia. Unraveling the case of young Nico Dilicata, who reports being shot in the leg, leads Montalbano in a surprising direction.

The late Camilleri’s antepenultimate novel again combines divinely deadpan drollery with a clever puzzle.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-14-313497-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

22 SECONDS

Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series.

Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable.

Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49937-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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