by Christopher Fowler ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 3, 2019
The crime spree is relatively straightforward, but the devil is in the details, and Fowler’s details are hilariously...
Back from the prequel that followed them to 1969 (Bryant and May: Hall of Mirrors, 2018), the members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit settle in to another round of doing what they do best in present-day London: creating chaos while bringing an unusually single-minded killer to book.
On normal excursions, the Ladies of the Night meet to map the colonies of the bats they’re trying to preserve on Hampstead Heath. But insomniac Sparrow (nee Candice) Martin’s brief glimpse of a man on the Heath wearing a pig mask and attacking another man while she’s separated from the other Ladies sets her latest outing apart. Even though Sparrow takes flight, the bat journal she accidentally leaves behind allows Hugo Blake to track her down with no trouble after he’s finished hanging Dhruv Cheema from his ankles amid the branches of a willow tree and stabbing him to death. Not surprisingly, the ghoulish case is sent to the PCU, where the killing of bank employee Luke Dickinson under very different circumstances but with a suspiciously similar weapon persuades DCI Arthur Bryant, the master of arcane knowledge whose sources of information seem to include every seedy character in London, that the killer, who seems to prefer striking at 4 a.m., has other victims in mind—up to three others, by Bryant’s precise reckoning. Since no one outside the PCU shares Bryant’s unshakeable conviction, it’ll be up to his longtime friend and partner, DCI John May; Operations Director Janice Longbright; DS Meera Mangeshkar; DS Colin Bimsley; and the unit’s lesser lights to establish not only who the killer is, but what his victims have in common and where he’s likely to strike next. Complications ensue along with the wackiest digressions in the business, at least one gobsmacking coincidence, and two deaths that will catch even the most devoted fans of this wacky franchise by surprise.The crime spree is relatively straightforward, but the devil is in the details, and Fowler’s details are hilariously devilish.
Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019
Page Count: 448
Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by James Patterson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 5, 2003
As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...
Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.
According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.
Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003
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