Crisp, unpretentious, and bound to please the legion of fans for whom a world of Bond is never enough.

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FOREVER AND A DAY

Horowitz celebrates his return to the James Bond franchise (Trigger Mortis, 2015) by providing the story of 007’s very first adventure in 1950.

Five years after World War II has ended, Bond slips into the Double-O ranks by committing his first duly licensed execution. Then, on the orders of M, he prepares to go after the people who made his promotion possible by dispatching the first 007. The assignment takes him to Marseilles, where his nameless predecessor was shot three times. Was the killer Joanne Brochet, aka Sixtine, the special ops–trained freelance agent who makes a living selling information to the highest bidder? Or was it Irwin Wolfe, the wealthy, aging American businessman Sixtine’s taken up with? Or was he killed on the orders of scale-busting Corsican ganglord Jean-Paul Scipio, whose latest endeavors have made him worth his weight in heroin? Sixtine and Wolfe tell plausible stories about their presence in Marseilles, and Scipio does Bond the favor of not killing him on their first meeting. Setting his cap on getting closer (much closer) to Sixtine, Bond soon has her warbling her darkest secrets into his ear. He’s made enough waves to attract unwanted attention, though, and soon enough he’s hoping he’ll get bailed out by CIA agent Reade Griffith. Horowitz unfolds this tale in prose as knowingly workmanlike as Ian Fleming’s, and readers hungry for details of Bond’s origin story will find out why he demands his martinis shaken, not stirred. But although he conscientiously hits all the obligatory notes, taking care not to outshine his master, there’s nothing here that would make the unwary suspect how fiendishly inventive Horowitz can be when he’s not laboring in Bond’s shadow (The Word Is Murder, 2018, etc.).

Crisp, unpretentious, and bound to please the legion of fans for whom a world of Bond is never enough.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-287280-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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