by Anthony Horowitz ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 6, 2018
Crisp, unpretentious, and bound to please the legion of fans for whom a world of Bond is never enough.
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
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by Michael Crichton ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2017
Falls short of Crichton’s many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days...
In 1876, professor Edward Cope takes a group of students to the unforgiving American West to hunt for dinosaur fossils, and they make a tremendous discovery.
William Jason Tertullius Johnson, son of a shipbuilder and beneficiary of his father’s largess, isn’t doing very well at Yale when he makes a bet with his archrival (because every young man has one): accompany “the bone professor” Othniel Marsh to the West to dig for dinosaur fossils or pony up $1,000, but Marsh will only let Johnson join if he has a skill they can use. They need a photographer, so Johnson throws himself into the grueling task of learning photography, eventually becoming proficient. When Marsh and the team leave without him, he hitches a ride with another celebrated paleontologist, Marsh’s bitter rival, Edward Cope. Despite warnings about Indian activity, into the Judith badlands they go. It’s a harrowing trip: they weather everything from stampeding buffalo to back-breaking work, but it proves to be worth it after they discover the teeth of what looks to be a giant dinosaur, and it could be the discovery of the century if they can only get them back home safely. When the team gets separated while transporting the bones, Johnson finds himself in Deadwood and must find a way to get the bones home—and stay alive doing it. The manuscript for this novel was discovered in Crichton’s (Pirate Latitudes, 2009, etc.) archives by his wife, Sherri, and predates Jurassic Park (1990), but if readers are looking for the same experience, they may be disappointed: it’s strictly formulaic stuff. Famous folk like the Earp brothers make appearances, and Cope and Marsh, and the feud between them, were very real, although Johnson is the author’s own creation. Crichton takes a sympathetic view of American Indians and their plight, and his appreciation of the American West, and its harsh beauty, is obvious.Falls short of Crichton’s many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days of American paleontology.
Pub Date: May 23, 2017
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017
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