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

HUNTER'S MOON

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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The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once...

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In Baldacci’s 19th (True Blue, 2009, etc.), boy and girl monster-hunters meet cute.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous—spearheads the first, an ad hoc group of monster-hunting vigilantes. Studly, tall Shaw (no first name supplied) is point guard for a rival team, shadowy enough to leave the matter of its origin ambiguous. While their respective teams reconnoiter and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly these are drawn to each other in the time-honored Hollywood fashion. Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favor. The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team-members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus, singularly inopportune since, as monsters go, Waller rises to the second coming of Caligula—ample testimony furnished by a six-page, unsparingly detailed torture scene. In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once again show the stuff it’s made of.

Pub Date: April 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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