Box handles both the set pieces and the longer arc with professional dexterity. The results can’t exactly be called...

READ REVIEW

PARADISE VALLEY

Box takes another break from the travails of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Vicious Circle, 2017, etc.) to throw a serial killer at a dogged investigator and vice versa.

His real name is Ronald Pergram, but he’s more widely known as the Lizard King because of his habit of abducting lot lizards—prostitutes who work truckers’ parking lots—and driving off with them into the endless sunset. And Cassandra Dewell, chief investigator for the Bakken County Sheriff’s Department, has been after him for more than three years, ever since veteran Sheriff Jon Kirkbride recruited her from Montana and began to train her as his successor. Now that the deep-laid trap Cassie’s set for the Lizard seems to be about to snap shut, she’s arranged for every available lawman to be on hand when the Lizard’s truck, complete with his latest victim, or at least with forensic evidence he hasn’t yet had time to clean off, crosses North Dakota and heads west into Bakken County. On the very same day Cassie’s set her trap, her son’s friend Kyle Westergaard and his buddy Raheem Johnson, both 14, plan to pull a Huck and Jim and light out for the wide open spaces on a boat they hope to row to New Orleans. All too predictably, Cassie’s trap goes horribly wrong, leaving her frozen out of the department by slimy new Bakken County attorney Avery Tibbs and the Lizard with several new hostages on his hands, setting the stage for a dogged pursuit all the way to Yellowstone National Park.

Box handles both the set pieces and the longer arc with professional dexterity. The results can’t exactly be called memorable, but if you like chases across wide-open spaces, you’ll race toward the satisfying climax without caring about anything else.

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-05104-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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.

THINGS IN JARS

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
more