Once again, the fifth from Parker (Iron Ties, 2013, etc.) is much better history than mystery, drawing the reader into the...

WHAT GOLD BUYS

A feuding couple returns to Colorado only to become embroiled in several murders.

Mark and Inez Stannert own the Silver Queen Saloon together with Abe Jackson, whom Mark has known since the Civil War. The couple has just come home to Leadville from an extended trip to Inez’s relatives in Manitou Springs. After Mark vanished for more than a year, Inez had started divorce proceedings, which are currently on hold. But she took a lover in Mark’s absence, and the Rev. Justice B. Sands is still first in her heart. While visiting Abe’s very pregnant wife, Angel, Inez meets Madame Drina Grizzi, a fortuneteller visiting Mrs. Alexander, the local undertaker’s wife. When Drina is found strangled with fancy corset laces, Inez is drawn into the mystery of her murder because she recognizes the laces—which were sold in her saloon by a drummer specializing in fancy ladies’ unmentionables who’s shortly found dead himself—and because she’s met Drina’s daughter, Antonia, who’s posing as a newsboy called Tony. Tony had tried to shoot Brown, one of the English remittance men who patronize the Silver Queen, thinking he’s the same Brown who Drina always claimed was coming to rescue them from poverty. Inez tries to hide Tony, dressed as a girl, with a friend, but she insists on going to work for the undertaker in hopes of finding her mother’s vanished body. The town is filled with rumors concerning doctors who steal bodies to dissect them, the Reverend’s behavior, and the possibility that the Englishman Brown's promising claim may actually be worthless. While Mark tries every trick in the book to keep Inez from divorcing him, she attempts to hunt down a killer while agonizing over the difficult decision she must make.

Once again, the fifth from Parker (Iron Ties, 2013, etc.) is much better history than mystery, drawing the reader into the stunning beauty and harsh realities of life in 1880s Colorado.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4642-0623-8

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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

ROSES ARE RED

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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