A sophisticated, elegantly written, intensely powerful mystery, the best of an excellent series.

A STEP SO GRAVE

An upper-crust detective tackles a case that deeply affects her own family.

It's February 1935, and Dandy Gilver (Dandy Gilver and a Spot of Toil and Trouble, 2017, etc.), her husband, Hugh, and their two sons, Donald and Teddy, have come to the remote Scottish estate of Applecross to meet the family of Donald’s intended, Mallory Dunnoch. Mallory’s mother, Lavinia, Lady Dunnoch, Viscountess Ross, is known as Lady Love. And it does indeed seem that she’s loved by all, including Donald, who clearly has a crush on her. At 30, Mallory, Lavinia’s elder daughter, is older than Donald, but Dandy comes to admire her as she gets to know her better. Lavinia’s husband, Lord Ross, has used a wheelchair ever since he was wounded during the war saving the life of the estate gardener’s son. His nurse and old pal, Dickie Tibball, is the father of Martin, who’s married to the Rosses’ younger daughter, Cherry, a partner just as devoted as Martin to managing the estate. The party assembled for Lavinia’s birthday also includes Dickie’s wife, Biddy, and Capt. David Spencer, another man in Lavinia’s thrall. Despite years of living in Scotland, Dandy’s still taken aback by local mores and frowns on Lavinia’s horticulturally rooted relationship with her gardener, Samuel McReadie, which is fueled by their mutual passion for Applecross’s stunning gardens. Although Dandy pooh-poohs several mysterious portents of danger, she agrees to wear a talisman to ward off evil. When Lavinia announces that she’s divorcing her husband and vanishes, taking her clothes and other personal property, Hugh refuses to countenance Donald's marriage and insists that his family leave the estate. No sooner have they arrived back home, however, than they’re greeted by a police inspector who announces that the unseasonable snow has melted to reveal Lavinia’s corpse in her beloved garden. The inspector is furious when the local police identify a passing tramp as her killer, a conclusion so ludicrous that Dandy and her family, joined by her fellow sleuth Alec Osborne, return to Applecross seeking the truth of a complex case steeped in folklore and family secrets.

A sophisticated, elegantly written, intensely powerful mystery, the best of an excellent series.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-473-68235-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Mobius

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop...

WINTERKILL

The latest in an award-winning series set in the Bighorn Mountains (Savage Run, 2002, etc.).

Minutes after Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett arrests Lamar Gardiner, District Supervisor for the Twelve Sleep National Forest, for firing into a herd of elk, killing seven animals and blindly continuing to reload with cigarettes after he runs out of shells, Gardiner manages to handcuff Joe to his steering wheel and bolt off into a winter storm, only to turn up pinned to a tree with a pair of arrows, his throat cut. And things get even messier from that point on. The attack on a federal agent, together with reports that the Nation of the Rocky Mountain Sovereign Citizens has established an encampment in Twelve Sleep, brings gung-ho US Forest Service investigator Melinda Strickland and FBI sharpshooter Dick Munker, a veteran of Waco and Ruby Ridge, to town. Strickland maintains that she’s just trying to get justice for a murdered official, but she seems awfully eager to tie the perp to the Sovereigns. By the time Joe arrests one of Gardiner’s disappointing killers and identifies the other, Strickland and Munker are already planning an all-out attack on the encampment. The prospect is a personal nightmare for Joe, since Jeannie Keeley, the drifter whose abandoned daughter April Joe and his wife have been trying to adopt, has reclaimed April and spirited her off to the dubious shelter of the Sovereigns.

The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop action and his ability to see every side of the most divisive issues in the West.

Pub Date: May 12, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-15045-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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