DeSilva, drawing on a real-life case, pours on the ethical complications with such unrelenting suspense that you’ll be glad...

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PROVIDENCE RAG

DeSilva’s third visit to Rhode Island tracks the potentially dire consequences of trying a 15-year-old killer as a juvenile instead of locking him up and throwing away the key.

The first time Liam Mulligan (Cliff Walk, 2012, etc.) gets pulled off the sports desk at the Providence Dispatch, he’s sent out to cover the brutal murder of Becky Medeiros and her daughter Jessica, 4, in suburban Warwick. Their killer, not exactly a criminal mastermind, left so much trace evidence at the scene that it’s a simple matter to confirm that he’s the perp when Connie Stuart and her two daughters are slaughtered two years later. Mulligan, who’s made a friend and confidant of Andy Jennings, the cop in charge of the case, provides some sharp observations and asks a few good questions of his own. The result is the arrest and conviction of neighborhood teen Kwame Diggs. Tried as a juvenile, Diggs is supposed to be released when he’s 21. But he’s still in a maximum security cell 18 years later because the prison authorities have found one infraction after another to charge him with. When Edward Anthony Mason III, son of the Dispatch’s publisher, gets it into his crusading head to investigate whether the charges that have extended Diggs’ prison term are on the level, he unleashes a firestorm of protest from right-wing radio firebrand Iggy Rock, thousands of subscribers the struggling Dispatch can ill afford to lose, and of course Mulligan himself, who sees no reason that a sociopath like Diggs should ever be freed, especially now that he’s had nearly two decades to choose his next targets and reflect on the mistakes that got him caught.

DeSilva, drawing on a real-life case, pours on the ethical complications with such unrelenting suspense that you’ll be glad you don’t live in Rhode Island. Only the last few chapters are a letdown from the general excellence.

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7429-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

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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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

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