More disciplined than Jackie’s wild first two cases, though that’s not saying much. A treat for readers who enjoy the...



Called out in the middle of an epic snowstorm by a client who did three years for killing his paramour’s husband, Hamptons attorney Jackie Swaitkowski (Bad Bird, 2010, etc.) finds every indication that he’s done it again.

Of course, Franklin Delano Raffini hasn’t punctured Donald Pritz’s heart once more with a skewer. Don’s been dead and buried, and his widow Eliz has been enjoying a $7.5 million insurance windfall, for even longer than Franco was in prison for killing him. No, the new corpse is Tad Buczek, the eccentric heir (is there any other kind in the Hamptons?) who infuriated his staid neighbors when he bulldozed his homestead to create Metal Madness, an attraction featuring misshapen hunks of metal. Franco’s already ticked off police detective Joe Sullivan by inexplicably dragging Tad’s corpse away from the place where he was killed, further degrading the world’s snowiest crime scene. The news that he was keeping company with Katarzina Buczek, the metal maven’s much younger mail-order bride, seems to be his one-way ticket back to stir. But Jackie, undaunted, takes her client’s arrest as no more than a challenge to poke around among Tad’s nearest and dearest, who just happen to be her late husband Pete’s relatives: Paulina Swaitkowski, Pete’s mother and Tad’s sister; Salina Lumsden, Pete’s aunt, the housekeeper of Tad’s crazy home; and Salina’s husband, Freddy, his handyman. With such nutty suspects to choose from, it’s a cinch that Jackie will crack the case as soon as she dodges the goons scrap-metal magnate Ivor Fleming has sent to dog her steps and Roger Angstrom, the New York Times crime reporter determined to write a story about her.

More disciplined than Jackie’s wild first two cases, though that’s not saying much. A treat for readers who enjoy the journey more than the destination.

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00517-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet