Race and privilege light the fuse in this classics-laced whodunit.

Class lines morph into clash lines when British aristocrats and police face off in this dead-on debut.

On the night before an Instagram influencer is found dead, Rupert Beauchamp, heir to a baronetcy, holds a tawdry black-tie 30th birthday bash at a London McDonald's, where guests wash down fast food with champagne and coke. The dead woman turns out to be Rupert's girlfriend, Clemmie O’Hara, whose body is discovered on Hampstead Heath by DI Caius Beauchamp (no relation to Rupert, but it's an intriguing coincidence that eventually explains a lot about Caius). Clemmie's death is convenient for the nasty Rupert because he's always loved Nell Waddingham, whom he can't marry because she's not posh enough. Nell works in publishing and adores classic novels, especially Jane Austen's, which she loves to read and post about. She’s Vassell’s most perfectly wrought character and, along with Caius, one of the few likable ones. On a recent trip to Greece with Rupert and Clemmie, she experienced a terrible act of violence (only hinted at later in the book) that she can't seem to understand or process. Caius is clear-eyed about what happened to her and wants justice for her and Clemmie. He's not afraid to set his sights on Rupert, even though his elite-enamored boss tells him to back off. Rupert, like all the other aimless upper-class millennials in this novel, can buy his way out of pretty much any criminal behavior, but will he get away with murder? There are plenty of other people in Clemmie's circle with strong motives, and Vassell serves them up with gimlet-eyed precision. This is a sturdy police procedural whose plot is sometimes knocked off kilter by Vassell's frequent sendups of her morally bankrupt characters, but the forthright Caius is a beacon of justice who makes this debut shine.

Race and privilege light the fuse in this classics-laced whodunit.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593685945

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023


The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.

The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.

The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780316563765

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


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

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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