Knopf balances the usual Long Island byplay with an unflinching look at Puerto Rico’s distress.


A houseguest’s fatal plunge from a neighbor’s second-story window spells trouble for Southampton carpenter/private eye Sam Acquillo and even bigger trouble for one of his closest friends.

Billionaire attorney/philanthropist Burton Lewis says he doesn’t remember the events that left Elton Darby dead in Joshua and Rosie Edelstein’s rhododendrons. But since Darby is still clutching Burton’s Patek Philippe in his fist, the police swiftly come up with a theory of his death that’s circumstantially confirmed by the accounts of the Edelsteins and Violeta Zaragoza, their Puerto Rican housekeeper. Hauled off in handcuffs, Burton makes bail with the push of a button on his cellphone, but he’s still on the hook for the murder of Darby, a staffer for the charity Volunteering with Love, aka the Loventeers. So Sam, whose search for the quiet life seems eternally doomed to failure (Tango Down, 2017, etc.), follows a trail that first appears when he’s suavely threatened by Art Reynolds, the attorney who chairs the Loventeers board, and Mikolaj Galecki, his hulking, multilingual personal assistant, and realizes that the FBI also has a strongly possessive interest in the case. Since there’s nothing like threats and official warnings to rev Sam’s engine, he’s soon headed for Puerto Rico on the strength of a cryptic tip, with the plan of masquerading as a carpenter—call it method acting—in order to infiltrate the local chapter of the Loventeers, which definitely needs and rewards infiltration. From the dedication to the closing acknowledgments, Knopf clearly intends Sam’s ninth adventure as a valentine to the island, and the long sequence set there, emphasizing the ways the struggle to recover from Hurricane Maria are heightened by long-standing corruption, is the clear highlight of this installment. Only when Sam high-tails it back to Long Island as if suddenly remembering that his No. 1 job is not to investigate the Loventeers but to clear his old friend do things settle into a more familiar, though hardly a reassuring, groove.

Knopf balances the usual Long Island byplay with an unflinching look at Puerto Rico’s distress.

Pub Date: July 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57962-571-9

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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