by Brian A Tucker ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 30, 2013
A truly impressive thriller debut in the vein of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
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In this sprawling international thriller, an ancient secret society seeks domination over Western governments.
At the start of Tucker’s blandly titled but brilliantly executed debut, British Prime Minister James Moore goes missing while horseback riding. He’d entered office on a wave of popularity, but parliamentary frustrations caused the public to nickname him Dismal Jimmy, “a political disaster, stumbling from one crisis to another, while his government scrambled to complete its first full term in office.” Scotland Yard naturally treats his disappearance as a potential kidnapping and calls in Dr. Hanson Shaw, one of their former investigators. He’d left their ranks for the private sector after resolving several investigations with uncanny speed and skill. Unbeknownst to his former colleagues, Hanson used to have preternatural insights (“spontaneous spells of contemplative abstraction”) during his migraine attacks, and this new crisis has reawakened his weird abilities: “Visions were once again invading his mind, breathing life into a subconscious inner awareness he thought was lost forever.” Shaw teams up with Cate Brocklehurst, a research associate of his old mentor, former Oxford don Winston Elliott, and they begin sifting through clues involving a medieval secret society called the Lions of Jerusalem. Their investigation eventually leads them to sinister billionaire (and eminently hissable villain) Edward Cheyne, who intones such Bond-villain lines as “Change is coming.” It turns out that he’s funding a clandestine terrorist agenda that reaches far beyond the kidnapping of one British head of state. With an amazingly assured narrative style, Tucker takes readers from the machinations of his nefarious, multicultural bad guys to the dogged sleuthing of Shaw and his allies, punctuated by vivid descriptions of Shaw’s painful attacks and incredible deductive visions. Before long, the plot expands to a global scale involving the Syrians, the Americans, and al-Qaida and half a dozen other volatile groups. Tucker handles it all with extremely lively pacing and frequent glints of Shaw’s wry outlook on life. As long as this book is, readers will likely wish it were longer.A truly impressive thriller debut in the vein of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2013
Page Count: 726
Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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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 C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...
Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.
Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.
Pub Date: July 28, 2015
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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