Sherlock-ians, as is their wont, may quibble, but lovers of ratiocination (Sherlock Holmes and the Swedish Enigma, 2012,...

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SHERLOCK HOLMES AND FRANKENSTEIN'S DIARY

The world’s greatest detective confronts a Rupert Murdoch–like adversary.

Now thawed after years embedded in a Swiss glacier, Holmes is approached by Andrew Swann to investigate the biggest ongoing crime in Britain: the suppression of animal rights and the subversion of human democracy. Swann’s father, who retired after a career in Fleet Street, created the Rabbit Underground, an animal rights activist group whose legislative efforts have been squelched by media titan Gerald Gurloch. Gurloch’s fortune, which began with slaughterhouses and expanded to salacious tabloids, cybermalfeasance and political bribery, is now dedicated to three goals: Kill Sherlock Holmes, blow up Nelson’s Column and defame the queen. To achieve these ends, Gurloch buys up a Caribbean island from which to conduct nefarious enterprises. He hacks into Google and Scotland Yard’s files, putting pressure on Lestrade’s grandson, also a detective inspector, to resign. He corrupts Nigel Greenwood, current head of the Metropolitan Police. And he may just be underwriting professor Droon’s experiments on apes. Just what he has to do with the quiet deaths of Lord North and Sylvia Swann has yet to be proved. The quest to do so sends Holmes’ amanuensis, journalist James Wilson, scampering overseas and Holmes himself reconnoitering the Swiss Alps in his Aston Martin. Disguises come into play, as does a bit of code-breaking, the bickering of Gurloch’s twin daughters, Google-hacking under the nom de blog Black Swan and a master criminal’s gift of Dr. Watson’s little tin box of unpublished Holmes stories to Wilson. The denouement, which saves Lestrade’s job, defeats Gurloch and solves all the murders, finds Holmes facing his third deadly skirmish with death in peaceful Switzerland.

Sherlock-ians, as is their wont, may quibble, but lovers of ratiocination (Sherlock Holmes and the Swedish Enigma, 2012, etc.) will have a field day.

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8218-9

Page Count: 183

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

CROOKED RIVER

FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).

Imagine Florida beachcombers’ shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot’s amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where “something terrible was happening” in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is “a most baffling case indeed” for the brilliant Pendergast, but it’s the type of problem he thrives on. He’s hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he’s part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his “extraordinarily beautiful,” smart, and sarcastic young “ward” who has “eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing.” Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and “every inch a Fed.” Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.

Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4725-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Professionally entertaining, with lots of realistically frustrating false hopes—though it’s hard to worry very much about...

NEON PREY

Lucas Davenport goes west.

But first he goes south, called from his home in Minnesota to the Louisiana swamp where hired killer Clayton Deese buried at least five people (the total is actually higher) before coming a cropper seven months ago with his latest target, Howell Paine. Things went sideways, sending Paine to the hospital and sentencing Deese to an ankle monitor he sliced through three days ago. Local FBI agent Sandro Tremanty, discovering Deese’s absence, wants help from the U.S. marshals in rounding up his quarry so that he can implicate loan shark Roger Smith, who’d hired him to hurt Paine and send a warning to his other debtors. And there’s another reason the feds would like to get Deese off the streets: His experiments in homicide have given him a taste for human flesh. Soon enough, Lucas, together with marshals Rae Givens and Bob Matees, has picked up Deese’s trail, which leads first to Marina Del Rey, where he’s joined his half brother, Marion Beauchamps, and Jayden Nast, “a guy with guns, who hates cops,” in a brutal home-invasion crew. Conscientious detective work brings Lucas and the LAPD within a whisker of catching Deese, but he slips away from them and heads to Las Vegas with Genesis Cox, the blonde he’s picked up, and John Rogers Cole, another accomplice. Deese and his cohort must constantly pull new jobs to support their gambling and drug habits, and it’s hard to imagine their eluding the law for very long. But there are deeper threats to their racket. Roger Smith, who knows plenty about Deese, realizes he has every reason to get rid of him, and there turns out to be no honor among the thieves closer to home either.

Professionally entertaining, with lots of realistically frustrating false hopes—though it’s hard to worry very much about the leading question here: Will the franchise hero (Twisted Prey, 2018, etc.) succeed in bringing the crooks to justice before they wipe each other off the face of the Earth?

Pub Date: April 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53658-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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