As Hillerman continues her father’s legacy through his beloved characters (Song of the Lions, 2017, etc.), she’s gradually...

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CAVE OF BONES

A troubled teen’s claims about the eponymous cave lead tribal officers through a search of the remote regions of the Navajo Nation.

The goal of the Wings and Roots program is to help empower at-risk girls, program director Rose Cooper explains to Tribal Police Officer Bernadette Manuelito as she preps the latter for her upcoming talk to the group. Never much of a public speaker, Bernadette is dreading her presentation. Not to worry: when the time comes, she’s relieved of her painful duty in order to fulfill more traditional police responsibilities during her visit to the program. Troubled young Annie Rainsong has disappeared on a solo vision quest, and dedicated Wings and Roots staff member Domingo Cruz is searching for her. When Annie shows up, she’s visibly shaken by something she saw while hiking through the lava fields, and she’s notably without Dom. Given Annie’s frequent overdramatizing, her story of finding a cave with human bones is hard for some of the staff to swallow. Her credibility is further diminished when she lapses into what seems to be a drug-induced state. Bernadette has to investigate Annie’s claims about the bones and figure out what’s happened to Dom without the help of her husband and fellow officer, Jim Chee, who’s on a mission of his own. While checking in on Bernadette’s sister, Darleen, at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Chee finds a mysterious bruise on Darleen’s arm, and she’s cagey when he confronts her. Certain that Bernadette won’t be satisfied with no explanation, Chee feels obliged to stick around until he can ensure the safety of Darleen, who’s been hanging with a crowd that’s been on Chee’s bad side before.

As Hillerman continues her father’s legacy through his beloved characters (Song of the Lions, 2017, etc.), she’s gradually and gratifyingly finding her own voice.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-239192-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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