Ceepak and Boyle’s eighth blasts the energy of a tilt-a-whirl into an offbeat procedural.

FREE FALL

Sea Haven detectives Ceepak and Boyle (Fun House, 2012, etc.) investigate the murder of a 94-year-old dentist who has a very pretty nurse.

There are two good reasons that Danny Boyle can’t believe that Christine Lemonpolous tried to strangle her nighttime employer, Shona Oppenheimer—and they become even clearer to him when she changes from her nurse’s scrubs into a T-shirt. Straight-arrow Detective John Ceepak also believes Chris’ claim that Shona attacked her, and so John's mother, Adele, putting her inherited millions to good use, hires Harvey Nussbaum to defend Chris. Harvey gets Shona to back down but realizes that he may have a harder time getting Chris off the hot seat when Arnold Rosen, her daytime employer, drops dead after she hands him a cyanide-laced pill. Arnie’s daughter-in-law, Judith, who’s also Shona’s sister, is screaming for blood, while Arnie’s sons David and Michael fight over who’s more deserving of their father’s love and his money. While Ceepak and Boyle try to track the poison to its source, Ceepak is distressed to learn that Sinclair Enterprises has hired his no-account dad, now a certified Free Fall technician, to run its StratosFEAR ride. Ceepak senior hopes to serve himself a cut of Adele’s moolah. Will Sea Haven have to trade in its status as a summer funland for the title of dysfunctional family capital of New Jersey?

Ceepak and Boyle’s eighth blasts the energy of a tilt-a-whirl into an offbeat procedural.

Pub Date: May 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60598-475-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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A top-notch psychological thriller.

COLD COLD HEART

In Hoag’s (The 9th Girl, 2013, etc.) latest, talented young newscaster Dana Nolan is left to navigate a psychological maze after escaping a serial killer.

While recuperating at home in Shelby Mills, Indiana, Dana meets her former high school classmates John Villante and Tim Carver. Football hero Tim is ashamed of flunking out of West Point, and now he’s a sheriff’s deputy. After Iraq and Afghanistan tours, John’s home with PTSD, "angry and bitter and dark." Dana survived abduction by serial killer Doc Holiday, but she still suffers from the gruesome attack by "the man who ruined her life, destroyed her career, shattered her sense of self, damaged her brain and her face." What binds the trio is their friend Casey Grant, who's been missing five years, perhaps also a Holiday victim, even if "[t]he odds against that kind of coincidence had to be astronomical." Hoag’s first 100 pages are a gut-wrenching dissection of the aftereffects of traumatic brain injury: Dana is plagued by "[f]ear, panic, grief, and anger" and haunted by fractured memories and nightmares. "Before Dana had believed in the inherent good in people. After Dana knew firsthand their capacity for evil." Impulsive and paranoid, Dana obsesses over linking Casey’s disappearance to Holiday, with her misfiring brain convincing her that "finding the truth about what had happened to Casey [was] her chance of redemption." But then Hoag tosses suspects into the narrative faster than Dana can count: Roger Mercer, Dana’s self-absorbed state senator stepfather; Mack Villante, who left son John with "no memories of his father that didn’t include drunkenness and cruelty"; even Hardy, the hard-bitten, cancer-stricken detective who investigated Casey’s disappearance. Tense, tightly woven, with every minor character, from Dana’s fiercely protective aunt to Mercer’s pudgy campaign chief, ratcheting up the tension, Hoag’s narrative explodes with an unexpected but believable conclusion.

A top-notch psychological thriller.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-95454-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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