by Christopher Fowler ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 4, 2018
The inspired idea of revisiting the youth of his aged sleuths in swinging England is matched by Fowler’s customary gusto in...
A prequel that finds Fowler’s imperishable detective duo (Bryant & May: Wild Chamber, 2017, etc.) already in hot water back in 1969 as they struggle to solve a country-house mystery deep in Kent, far from the resources of their Peculiar Crimes Unit.
When their lively pursuit of sociopathic criminal Burlington Bertie, ne Cedric Powles, gets a little too lively for public safety, Bryant and May’s boss, Roger Trapp, dispatches them on a more routine assignment: to babysit businessman Monty Hatton-Jones over the weekend, keeping him safe until he can give evidence against crooked developer Sir Charles Chamberlain Monday morning. What could possibly go wrong? Only this: Monty's fears for his life don’t prevent him from accepting a weekend invitation from Lady Beatrice Banks-Marion, who’s about to sell her late husband’s estate, Tavistock Hall, to millionaire Donald Burke for repurposing as the Burke Better Business School. Monty has a deal brewing with Burke and doesn’t intend to be talked out of the trip. Instead, he gets Bryant and May invited along with him, where they join Lady Beatrice’s stoner son, Lord Harry; Burke; his wife, Norma; his lawyer, Toby Stafford; nightclub singer Vanessa Harrow; mystery novelist Pamela Claxon; decorator Slade Wilson; the Rev. Trevor Patethric; and diverse members of the Tavistock domestic staff. A local army unit’s war games effectively isolate the place, making departure possible only through death, which obligingly arrives in the shape of five separate attempts on the lives of the assembled company, two of them successful. Suddenly, protecting the life of Monty Hatton-Jones looks like the least of Bryant and May’s problems.The inspired idea of revisiting the youth of his aged sleuths in swinging England is matched by Fowler’s customary gusto in sweating the details. More fully fleshed-out suspects, clues, red herrings, twists, and honest mystery and detection than in the last three whodunits you read.
Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018
Page Count: 432
Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018
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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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