THE STRANGER

Fjällbacka, which must already be the most crime-ridden little town in Sweden (The Stonecutter, 2012, etc.), gets both a serial killer and a reality program.

Everyone knows that Marit Kaspersen hated liquor. So why did she have a toxic level of alcohol in her bloodstream when her car crashed into a tree? Before Detective Patrik Hedström and his colleagues on the Tanumshede police force can do more than establish that the accident that took Marit’s life was no accident, a second murder claims their attention. With the full cooperation of wealthy Erling Larson and his compliant town council, TV producer Fredrik Rehn and the crew of misfit partiers he’s assembled—bosomy Barbie, spoiled rich kid Calle, untalented singer Tina, bully-boy Uffe and neurotic Mehmet—have descended on the town to shoot Sodding Tanum. Larson, who’s convinced that the show will put the place on the map, gets his wish in spades when one of the dim stars turns up strangled at the end of an especially enthusiastic round of partying, and the surviving cast members are the obvious suspects. Since Patrik is busy welcoming bright new colleague Hanna Kruse into his squad and preparing for his wedding to crime novelist Erica Falck, he scarcely has a moment to spare for the Kaspersen case. When he does look more closely into it, though, he soon realizes that it’s linked to at least three far-flung earlier murders over a period of 10 years and perhaps even to the much higher-profile killing that’s outraged locals without ever slowing down the production of Sodding Tanum.  Patrik’s still no great shakes as a detective—people keep bringing him crucial evidence other cops would have to hunt for—but the surprising punch the big reveal packs makes this the best of Läckberg’s four appearances in English to date.

 

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60598-425-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No wonder Scarpetta asks, “When did my workplace become such a soap opera?” Answer: at least 10 years ago.

FLESH AND BLOOD

Happy birthday, Dr. Kay Scarpetta. But no Florida vacation for you and your husband, FBI profiler Benton Wesley—not because President Barack Obama is visiting Cambridge, but because a deranged sniper has come to town.

Shortly after everyone’s favorite forensic pathologist (Dust, 2013, etc.) receives a sinister email from a correspondent dubbed Copperhead, she goes outside to find seven pennies—all polished, all turned heads-up, all dated 1981—on her garden wall. Clearly there’s trouble afoot, though she’s not sure what form it will take until five minutes later, when a call from her old friend and former employee Pete Marino, now a detective with the Cambridge Police, summons her to the scene of a shooting. Jamal Nari was a high school music teacher who became a minor celebrity when his name was mistakenly placed on a terrorist watch list; he claimed government persecution, and he ended up having a beer with the president. Now he’s in the news for quite a different reason. Bizarrely, the first tweets announcing his death seem to have preceded it by 45 minutes. And Leo Gantz, a student at Nari’s school, has confessed to his murder, even though he couldn’t possibly have done it. But these complications are only the prelude to a banquet of homicide past and present, as Scarpetta and Marino realize when they link Nari’s murder to a series of killings in New Jersey. For a while, the peripheral presence of the president makes you wonder if this will be the case that finally takes the primary focus off the investigator’s private life. But most of the characters are members of Scarpetta’s entourage, the main conflicts involve infighting among the regulars, and the killer turns out to be a familiar nemesis Scarpetta thought she’d left for dead several installments back. As if.

No wonder Scarpetta asks, “When did my workplace become such a soap opera?” Answer: at least 10 years ago.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-232534-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more