An appealing, three-dimensional heroine and some clever plot twists make this an enjoyable, quick read.

READ REVIEW

Death on Windmill Way

From the Hamptons Murder Mysteries series , Vol. 1

In this mystery novel, somebody’s been killing the proprietors of a prestigious inn, and the newest innkeeper is determined to find out why before she becomes the next victim.

Doyle (The Infidelity Pact, 2008, etc.) is a self-described “foodie” and an avid cheerleader for the quaint village of East Hampton, New York, and she indulges both of these passions in this first installment of her new Hamptons Murder Mysteries series. Recently transplanted from California following a nasty divorce, 35-year-old protagonist Antonia Bingham has bought the Windmill Inn from the estate of Gordon Haslett, who died suddenly, apparently from a heart attack. An inventive, passionate chef, Antonia has just reopened the inn’s restaurant when she learns from two of her regulars, Len and Sylvia Powers, that the circumstances surrounding Gordon’s death were suspicious. Worse, he wasn’t the first owner of the inn to experience an untimely death. Now, strange things are happening to Antonia—someone removes a stepladder while she’s installing a light bulb, someone locks her in a supply closet, and more. Her new buddy, Joseph Fowler, a 60-something widower, joins in the amateur sleuthing as they try to sort out the possible motives of a multitude of suspects; Gordon, they discover, was universally disliked. Doyle is an enthusiastic guide for Long Island’s East End village; she details each street and shop, the spectacular beaches, and the unique play of sunlight that has been a siren call to artists for more than a century. She also gives readers plenty of opportunities to vicariously indulge in every mouthwatering bite that Antonia and her restaurant patrons consume—especially if the item is loaded with butter, sugar, or some other comforting dietary no-no. Doyle also pays careful attention to housing décor, wardrobe selections, and the hairstyles of every character, which perhaps stems from her experience as a screenwriter (Intern, 2009). The generally smooth prose maintains a gentle pace, although there are one or two unnecessarily awkward lead-ins, such as “an odd incident occurred that unnerved Antonia and once again gave her pause about her own mortality.” The dinner-table gathering of suspects isn’t an original device, but it’s fun and satisfying nonetheless. 

An appealing, three-dimensional heroine and some clever plot twists make this an enjoyable, quick read. 

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972701-4-3

Page Count: 410

Publisher: Dunemere Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

CROOKED RIVER

FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).

Imagine Florida beachcombers’ shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot’s amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where “something terrible was happening” in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is “a most baffling case indeed” for the brilliant Pendergast, but it’s the type of problem he thrives on. He’s hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he’s part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his “extraordinarily beautiful,” smart, and sarcastic young “ward” who has “eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing.” Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and “every inch a Fed.” Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.

Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4725-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Professionally entertaining, with lots of realistically frustrating false hopes—though it’s hard to worry very much about...

NEON PREY

Lucas Davenport goes west.

But first he goes south, called from his home in Minnesota to the Louisiana swamp where hired killer Clayton Deese buried at least five people (the total is actually higher) before coming a cropper seven months ago with his latest target, Howell Paine. Things went sideways, sending Paine to the hospital and sentencing Deese to an ankle monitor he sliced through three days ago. Local FBI agent Sandro Tremanty, discovering Deese’s absence, wants help from the U.S. marshals in rounding up his quarry so that he can implicate loan shark Roger Smith, who’d hired him to hurt Paine and send a warning to his other debtors. And there’s another reason the feds would like to get Deese off the streets: His experiments in homicide have given him a taste for human flesh. Soon enough, Lucas, together with marshals Rae Givens and Bob Matees, has picked up Deese’s trail, which leads first to Marina Del Rey, where he’s joined his half brother, Marion Beauchamps, and Jayden Nast, “a guy with guns, who hates cops,” in a brutal home-invasion crew. Conscientious detective work brings Lucas and the LAPD within a whisker of catching Deese, but he slips away from them and heads to Las Vegas with Genesis Cox, the blonde he’s picked up, and John Rogers Cole, another accomplice. Deese and his cohort must constantly pull new jobs to support their gambling and drug habits, and it’s hard to imagine their eluding the law for very long. But there are deeper threats to their racket. Roger Smith, who knows plenty about Deese, realizes he has every reason to get rid of him, and there turns out to be no honor among the thieves closer to home either.

Professionally entertaining, with lots of realistically frustrating false hopes—though it’s hard to worry very much about the leading question here: Will the franchise hero (Twisted Prey, 2018, etc.) succeed in bringing the crooks to justice before they wipe each other off the face of the Earth?

Pub Date: April 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53658-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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