The tension never lets down in this horrifying look at mass murder and the often mundane factors that inspire it.

READ REVIEW

A DEADLY DIVIDE

A sadly relevant look at the consequences of racism and bigotry.

Esa Khattak and his partner, Sgt. Rachel Getty, are the mainstays of Canada’s Community Policing Department, which deals with hate crimes and terrorism. Their latest case takes them from their Toronto base to a small Quebecois town where someone has just massacred members of the local mosque. Both Rachel and Esa, who is a second-generation Canadian Muslim, are deeply disturbed when they receive a hostile reception from Christian Lemaire, the officer in charge. Prejudice is clearly at work when local priest Father Roy, who was found at the scene with a rifle in his hands, is escorted away, while Amadou Duchon, a young black member of the mosque, is arrested. Scores of reporters, community activists, and the premier’s press liaison descend on the town with their very different agendas. The crimes seem almost to have been committed by two different people. The women were all calmly shot with a handgun in the basement; a violent rage upstairs apparently fueled the deaths and woundings of dozens of men with an assault rifle. Esa, who always gets intensely invested in his cases, becomes even more so because of the involvement of university student Alizah Siddiqui, whose sister’s murder he investigated (A Dangerous Crossing, 2018). Alizah has a campus radio talk show that constantly battles another station intent on stirring up hatred in an area where Francophile sentiment already runs deep. The neo-Nazi Wolf Allegiance is run by Maxime Thibault, an arrogant preppy who has a love-hate relationship with Alizah. Rachel is both attracted to Lemaire and deeply distrustful of him and other police officers she suspects of bigotry. Khan peoples her police procedural with believably nuanced characters to highlight the consequences of hate.

The tension never lets down in this horrifying look at mass murder and the often mundane factors that inspire it.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-29828-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

Child builds tension to unbearable extremes, then blows it out in sharply choreographed violence, even if his plot has more...

ECHO BURNING

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 5

Smashingly suspenseful fifth in Child’s series (Running Blind, 2000, etc.) lands this British author’s rootless, laconic action hero in southwest Texas, where a femme fatale lures him into a family squabble that inevitably turns violent.

In the kind of daylight-noir setting that Jim Thompson loved, ex-military cop Jack Reacher has his thumb out on a lonely west Texas highway when he’s picked up by Carmine Greer, the Mexican-American wife of bad-ol’-boy Sloop Greer. It seems that Sloop, elder son of a white-trash-turned-oil-rich ranching dynasty, is nearing the end of a prison term for tax evasion, and Carmine, whose body Reacher sees is marked with signs of physical abuse, wants Reacher to be her bodyguard—or, failing that, kill the man in such a way that Carmine can still hold on to her terminally cute six-year-old daughter Ellie. Reacher refuses but decides to meet the folks: Rusty, Sloop’s racist, charmless mother, and Bobby, Sloop’s stupid, pugnacious brother. Meanwhile, a trio of paid assassins is littering the Texas roadside with corpses, starting with Sloop’s lawyer, Al Eugene. In a set-piece as good as anything in Elmore Leonard, Bobby sends two ranch-hands to ambush Reacher at an Abilene roadhouse filled with 20 other cowboys spoiling for a fight. Reacher walks away without a scratch, telling Bobby that his hospitalized ranch-hands have “quit.” Child twists his increasingly hokey plot into a pretzel when Sloop is found dead and Carmine confesses to killing him. Reacher just can’t believe that Carmine is guilty and teams up with Alice Aarons, a leggy Jewish lesbian fresh out of law school, who trusts him with her car, her handgun, and her life.

Child builds tension to unbearable extremes, then blows it out in sharply choreographed violence, even if his plot has more holes in it than the shirt Reacher uses for target practice.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14726-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more