Highly intelligent entertainment.

SOVEREIGN

Renaissance barrister Matthew Shardlake joins Henry VIII’s mammoth progress to the rebellious North on a mission from the wily Cardinal Cranmer.

In the rainy autumn of 1541, in the city of York, clever, upwardly mobile, hunchback lawyer Shardlake and his trusty Jewish clerk Jack Barak slog through trackless forests with orders to protect an imprisoned rebel from his sadistic jailer. Cardinal Cranmer wants the prisoner brought back alive to London where he can be properly tortured for information about a recent conspiracy to unseat the once-glorious monarch, now obese and limping and on his fifth wife. The gloomy city is seething with resentment as Henry’s gigantic entourage approaches. Advance forces have taken over desecrated monasteries to house the thousands of soldiers, lawyers, courtiers, caterers and whores comprising the royal progress, and the Yorkers hate them all. Shardlake quickly stumbles onto the grisly murder of a glazier with ties to the rebellion and then himself becomes the victim of a string of attacks when he finds that the victim was guarding an old jewelry box containing documents that could blow the Tudor succession to bits. He’s knocked unconscious before he can read the papers, which quickly vanish, but someone thinks he knows enough to make him a danger. Shardlake has to elude the murderers, avoid his arch-enemy Sir Richard Rich and stay out of the way of the grumpy monarch, whose frisky, much younger wife, Catherine Howard, may be involved in a fatal flirtation. While Jack dallies with a pretty servant from Queen Catherine’s retinue, Shardlake gets assistance in his inquiries from a kindly old colleague who knows more about the conspiracy than he lets on. As always, former lawyer Sansom (Dark Fire, 2005, etc.) fleshes out the detection with rich historic details presented at a stately pace.

Highly intelligent entertainment.

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-670-03831-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop...

WINTERKILL

The latest in an award-winning series set in the Bighorn Mountains (Savage Run, 2002, etc.).

Minutes after Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett arrests Lamar Gardiner, District Supervisor for the Twelve Sleep National Forest, for firing into a herd of elk, killing seven animals and blindly continuing to reload with cigarettes after he runs out of shells, Gardiner manages to handcuff Joe to his steering wheel and bolt off into a winter storm, only to turn up pinned to a tree with a pair of arrows, his throat cut. And things get even messier from that point on. The attack on a federal agent, together with reports that the Nation of the Rocky Mountain Sovereign Citizens has established an encampment in Twelve Sleep, brings gung-ho US Forest Service investigator Melinda Strickland and FBI sharpshooter Dick Munker, a veteran of Waco and Ruby Ridge, to town. Strickland maintains that she’s just trying to get justice for a murdered official, but she seems awfully eager to tie the perp to the Sovereigns. By the time Joe arrests one of Gardiner’s disappointing killers and identifies the other, Strickland and Munker are already planning an all-out attack on the encampment. The prospect is a personal nightmare for Joe, since Jeannie Keeley, the drifter whose abandoned daughter April Joe and his wife have been trying to adopt, has reclaimed April and spirited her off to the dubious shelter of the Sovereigns.

The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop action and his ability to see every side of the most divisive issues in the West.

Pub Date: May 12, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-15045-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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