The haunted detective is as thorough as usual, though he’s dealing with faster-moving events than in some of his previous...

NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE

A pleasure expedition in Cornwall turns deadly in Inspector Rutledge’s 18th case.

In the Cornish town of Padstow, Victoria Grenville is entertaining her neighbor Elaine St. Ives and two visitors from London for an autumn weekend. A row on the River Camel seems like a lark until they see Victoria’s would-be suitor, Harry Saunders, in trouble in his own boat. What appears to be a well-intentioned rescue attempt, with the four women helped by young farmer Bradford Trevose, goes awry when Harry is hit with the oar, and Trevose accuses the young women of attempted murder. When the first detective on the case dies of heart failure, Grenville, the local magistrate, calls in Scotland Yard, which sends Inspector Ian Rutledge. Rutledge is shocked to learn that one of the accused houseguests is Kate Gordon, his ex-fiancee’s cousin. Much as he admires Kate for her sense and courage under pressure, Rutledge has to be impartial, especially with Harry lying in a coma and his parents clamoring for justice. The only motives Rutledge can imagine are class resentment on Harry’s side and bitterness about the victim’s easy berth during World War I from the Grenville and St. Ives families, who suffered terrible losses. Even Rutledge’s invisible familiar—the voice of a fallen wartime comrade—is mostly silent. Then Mrs. Grenville tells Rutledge about a past tragedy that could explain why Trevose blames the young women for Harry’s coma and ultimately his death. Without real evidence or the missing notes from the first detective, Rutledge’s investigation is as nebulous as the rumors of a local spirit. Then a second assault takes Rutledge in a new direction and into serious danger.

The haunted detective is as thorough as usual, though he’s dealing with faster-moving events than in some of his previous adventures (A Fine Summer’s Day, 2015, etc.). There’s no peace for the man and only a teaser of romantic feelings he scarcely admits.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238618-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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