It’s obvious where all this is going, but Box gets you there, in one of most tightly wound tales, with more thrills than a...

WOLF PACK

Fired after his last colorfully insubordinate outing (The Disappeared, 2018), Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett is back on the job in Twelve Sleep County just in time to follow the trail from a routine misdemeanor to a quartet of hired killers.

Katelyn Hamm, Joe’s counterpart in Shell County, is saddened and angry to see a herd of terrified mule deer fleeing, some to their deaths, from an unregistered drone aircraft that disappears in the direction of Twelve Sleep County. This isn’t the first time locals have spotted the drone, and Katelyn wants Joe to track down its owner. Joe obligingly traces the rogue aircraft to the compound of Bill Hill, who gets him just as furious as Katelyn by freely admitting the offense, crumpling up the citation Joe gives him, refusing to follow him to the sheriff’s office, and assuring Joe that he’ll never have to answer the charge—and that Joe himself will be in trouble if he presses too hard. Trouble promptly arrives in the form of two FBI agents from the nation’s capital who warn first Katelyn, then Joe, off the case, which they consider no big deal compared to the threat against thousands of lives—“maybe tens of thousands….Maybe millions”—they’re handling but refuse to identify. Meanwhile, four professional killers, including a particularly fatal female, are headed to Twelve Sleep County from Arizona, where they’ve just killed their latest target, his wife, and a friend who happened to have stopped by. Squeezed between the feds and the Wolf Pack, a murderous arm of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joe will himself be targeted, along with Katelyn, the FBI agents, the local sheriff, his wife’s best friend, and his own friend the outlaw falconer Nate Romanowski, for elimination before the killers can move on to their real target.

It’s obvious where all this is going, but Box gets you there, in one of most tightly wound tales, with more thrills than a snowy road on a steep mountain and more authority than the governor of Wyoming.

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53819-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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