A satisfying crime novel with a strong female lead who can outshoot the best of them.



From the The Hunter Kincaid Mystery Series series

Kring’s (Bad Moon Rising, 2016, etc.) intrepid Border Patrol agent Hunter Kincaid is back for her fifth adventure on the Tex-Mex border—this time, fighting drug lords and swarms of deadly drones.

Outside the village of Las Vibras in southwest Texas, Hunter and her partner, Gary, are following a set of footprints from the Rio Grande when Hunter spots the body of a man lying facedown, his shirt and head punctured by bullet holes. The shooting appears to have been at close range, but there’s no sign of anyone else having been nearby. It turns out that he was shot by a gun mounted on a small drone. The wealthy Lincoln Jones, who’s a former Marine and CIA agent and a current presidential adviser, soon arrives at the murder scene with his second-in-command, Ashton Dean. The dead man is Jones’ stepson, Cory, who was also a CIA agent; he and his partner, Art Gonzales, had been in Mexico tracking a drug ring that uses drones to drop its deliveries across the U.S. border. Now Jones wants Hunter to find the man who killed Cory. This means secretly crossing the Rio Grande to spy on drug kingpin Pasqual Osorio, who may be in league with a Japanese sarin-gas expert. Hunter and Art team up for the reconnaissance mission, while Ashton functions as coordinator. The novel’s action begins on the very first page and the pace never slackens as it moves back and forth across the Rio Grande and through rocky, prickly terrain in Mexico and southeast Texas. Kring populates the novel with a wonderful supporting cast, including three charming teenage boys—David, Lonny, and Carlos—who teach Hunter how to operate a drone and provide some pleasant moments in the midst of brutal killings, chaos, and a betrayal. (Once, however, Kring mistakenly identifies one of boys as “Oscar.”) Overall, the prose, if not elegant, is serviceable, efficiently maintaining the story’s momentum on every page.

A satisfying crime novel with a strong female lead who can outshoot the best of them.

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5485-3745-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2017

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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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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.


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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