Hattie’s fourth adventure (A Sense of Entitlement, 2014, etc.) provides just enough colorful historical details to...



A sad reunion and a case of dubious identity in turn-of-the-20th-century Missouri.

Frank Hayward doesn’t look like himself. Or so it seems to Hattie Davish during his funeral at Mrs. Chaplin’s School for Women in St. Joseph. Hattie knows that Hayward was badly disfigured in the carriage accident that killed him and that the undertaker’s done his best with the corpse. But something is still off. When Hattie tries to tell her old friend Ginny, Hayward’s daughter, that the man in the coffin is missing a scar over his eyes, Ginny coldly dismisses her. Embarrassed and hurt—especially since she’s traveled all the way from Rhode Island to her hometown for Ginny’s sake—Hattie can’t shake the jitters and the sense that someone’s following her. Then she’s given an anonymous letter in shorthand that says something’s amiss at the Chaplin School and begs her to stay. She assumes the writer knows of her success as a detective, though she wishes the students of her alma mater weren’t more interested in the murders she’s solved and the glamour of her life with Newport’s finest than in her career as a personal secretary. She’s also dismayed when her childhood sweetheart and his golden trombone are served up as a surprise at a lakeside picnic. Hattie hasn’t forgiven him for abandoning her when she most needed him, and she longs to return to Newport and the young doctor she loves. But rumors of strange past incidents at the school, a runaway from the asylum where Hattie’s father died years ago, a missing account book, a couple of horticultural clues, and St. Joe’s most famous tourist attraction lead Hattie ever more deeply and perilously into the puzzle of what really happened to Frank Hayward.

Hattie’s fourth adventure (A Sense of Entitlement, 2014, etc.) provides just enough colorful historical details to compensate for a jumble of implausible plotlines.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61773-726-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2015

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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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An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

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The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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