Nickson's latest and perhaps finest is a breathless race for the truth from start to finish.


As Britain teeters on the brink of the Boer War, the Leeds police force braces in the expectation of losing too many men just when its caseload seems impossible to manage.

The summer of 1899 is blazing hot in Leeds, adding more misery for the populace and complicating several nasty cases Superintendent Tom Harper has on his plate. His wife, Annabelle, who serves on the board of the guardians of the poor, is deeply frustrated by her inability to get the condescending men to listen to any of her ideas for improvements. The well-off are being burglarized by someone who shinnies up drainpipes while the occupants are out and helps themselves to cash and jewelry. When Harper's old friend Billy Reed, who now does his policing in Whitby, comes to town after his brother Charlie commits suicide, his visit leads to a dark and dangerous case. Reed discovers that Charlie was being squeezed by a landlord who suddenly doubled the rent on his little corner shop. An investigation reveals that shops and houses are being bought up at suspiciously low prices by the Harehills Development Company so that the son-in-law of a town councilor can build new houses. Harehills is a front for the North Leeds Company, whose lawyer is able to hide the firm’s real ownership. Charlie’s shop is trashed and his wife, Hester, beaten by two big men, possibly John and Jack Smith, an elusive pair who’ll stop at nothing. Then Hester is found dead, and an autopsy shows that she was smothered. When two of the most dishonest among the council members insist on Harper’s ouster, he and the Chief Constable suspect the councillors are involved in the vicious scheme. Another fatality chalked up to the Smiths urges the force go all out to close the case. Nickson (The Hanging Psalm, 2019, etc.) is a master at mixing social commentary with police procedurals; he digs deep into the backgrounds of his characters and highlights the inequalities so common to the Industrial Revolution while deftly handling several troubling cases.

Nickson's latest and perhaps finest is a breathless race for the truth from start to finish.

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8879-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

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?