A high-quality murder mystery with a labyrinthine plot and a memorable heroine.

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EVER SO SILENT

AN EMMA THORNE MYSTERY

In Little’s debut thriller, a small-town Connecticut cop investigates a series of murders that she suspects may have been committed by her missing spouse.

Officer Emma Thorne has been dealing with her husband Will Foster’s severe depression. Will, a Yale University professor, hasn’t taught a class in months and has hinted that he’s contemplating suicide. One day, Emma returns home to find that he’s inexplicably disappeared, leaving his wallet, identification, and cellphone behind. A search, with help from fellow officers, turns up nothing. After accepting the job of police chief—a position vacated after her father’s unexpected death—Emma hires private investigator Mark Byrne to focus on locating Will. Emma, meanwhile, is busy with a murder case; a guy whom she dated back in high school initially seems to be a suicide until Emma, working with a forensic pathologist, uncovers foul play. After more bodies are found that are clearly homicides, cops dub the killer “Mr. Sharpie,” as each victim is marked with a letter or number, written in ink. A cryptic text leads Emma to believe that Will is alive, and evidence from murder scenes seems to implicate him in the killings. It seems that all the victims have ties to Emma, so there’s a good chance she may become a suspect, as well—or the next victim. Little’s gleefully convoluted mystery has a first-rate protagonist for a prospective series. Over the course of the story, Emma valiantly deals with a lecherous mayor and uncooperative cops who resent her role as chief. Although many secondary characters show deviousness, Emma’s police dog, Pepper, is refreshingly loyal and reliable. The story features plenty of violence, including brutal homicides and meticulous examination of the corpses. Even the humor is dark, although it’s delivered well; in one scene, for instance, Emma gets rid of an annoying woman who’s fawning over the easygoing Pepper by saying, “I wouldn’t get near her if I were you. She’s vicious.” Intermittent scenes from the killer’s perspective will put readers ahead of the investigators, but that doesn’t make the tale any less nerve-wracking.

A high-quality murder mystery with a labyrinthine plot and a memorable heroine.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73397-380-9

Page Count: 379

Publisher: Honeysuckle Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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