A good choice for thriller fans.

READ REVIEW

RED RIGHT HAND

A fast-moving novel featuring the return of hit-man hitter and antihero Michael Hendricks (The Killing Kind, 2015).

Tourist Jake Reston takes a video of his family with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Suddenly, a tugboat crashes into the bridge and explodes, causing massive damage and an unknown number of casualties. CNN obtains Reston’s video of the disaster and televises it repeatedly. A bystander happens to appear briefly in the video. It’s Frank Segreti, thought to be long dead by the Council, an umbrella alliance of organized crime groups. An incredulous Council member says, “This doesn’t make any sense. We blew Segreti’s ass up seven years ago,” so “how’d he just end up on my TV?” Meanwhile, Hendricks wants to take down the Council, the Council wants to find Segreti and kill him again, and Segreti wants to get far away from the scene of the blast, for which the unknown “True Islamic Caliphate” immediately takes responsibility. FBI Special Agent Charlie Thompson wants to protect Segreti, a federal witness, but is ordered to focus on the investigation of the bridge blast. A woman named Cameron wants to help Hendricks “stop bad guys” because he’d previously killed the man who’d been hired to off Cameron’s mother. A Council bad guy named Chet Yancey interrogates Reston about the man in the video. Meanwhile, there's Sal Lombino, who is “solely responsible for executing Council orders” and is known as the “Devil’s Red Right Hand.” Unfortunately, bad person though Lombino is, he doesn’t seem to earn his terrifying nickname. It’s a complicated story with a few twists—nothing stunning but entertaining enough. Readers will root for Hendricks, even though he’s on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, because he has a more solid moral code than your average murderer.

A good choice for thriller fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-25956-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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