by Charles Kerns ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2016
An entertaining mystery propelled by a hero to be savored, a smart, gentle cynic who comfortably interacts with both expats...
Awards & Accolades
Robert “Roberto” Evans, aka Santo Gordo, once again becomes embroiled in a battle not of his own choosing, this time against a gang of thieves and murderers.
This third volume of Kerns’ (Oaxaca Chocolate, 2016, etc.) Santo Gordo Mysteries opens with Roberto, an overweight American expatriate in his mid-60s, heading back from a mountain hideout in Mexico. He needed to recuperate from his last adventure and wait for the blowback caused by the death of a fellow expat to die down. Convinced that he can no longer remain in his beloved Oaxaca, Roberto now decides it is time to return to the United States. His plan is interrupted on the bus ride back to town when he witnesses a robbery that results in the murder of a police officer. It turns out that the policeman is a relative of Efraím, Roberto’s best friend and crime-solving partner. Efraím, a taxi driver who, through his network of fellow taxistas, knows everything and everyone in the small city, catches Roberto just before he boards a plane: “Come. I need you. Now—emergency—quick.” The improbable sleuth is back in the game. They hatch a plan to catch the thug who killed Efraím’s cousin, with Roberto the bait to lure him into a trap. Fans of the series will know that a more complicated crime is yet to be uncovered. The colors, smells, music, and especially the food of Oaxaca and its surrounding villages jump off the pages in this tale. The pace remains leisurely. Roberto walks slowly; he takes the time to study the streets, the architecture, the people; he needs his afternoon naps; and he never misses an opportunity to eat. Kerns offers some background for new readers of the delightful series, and this novel, a bit more plot-driven than the earlier ones, can be read as a stand-alone. But it is best enjoyed after reading the previous volumes, starting with the opener (Santo Gordo: A Killing in Oaxaca, 2016) when Santo Gordo first earned his moniker.An entertaining mystery propelled by a hero to be savored, a smart, gentle cynic who comfortably interacts with both expats and locals.
Pub Date: July 25, 2016
Page Count: 210
Review Posted Online: March 7, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017
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 James Patterson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 5, 2003
As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...
Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.
According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.
Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003
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