A complicated murder mystery with some penetrating insights into the treacherous world of dating apps and throwaway...

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SHOT IN THE DARK

A coffeehouse manager gets a crash course in the rules of the new dating game.

As she seeks an affordable venue for her wedding to NYPD detective Mike Quinn, Clare Cosi must juggle her duties as manager of the vastly popular Village Blend. Still on good terms with her handsome, charming ex-husband, Matteo Allegro, she’s surprised as they chat to see him using the dating app Cinder, where he’s apparently hooking up with plenty of women. Suddenly shots ring out, turning Clare’s life upside-down. Upstairs, a young woman is threatening a man she met on Cinder who treated her badly. Clare manages to get the gun, that turns out to be loaded with blanks, away from the woman before the cops arrive. But the videos patrons took quickly go viral and ruin her business. As it turns out, the threatened man, who identifies himself as Richard Crest, has quite a reputation for playing nasty games with his hookups. Later that night, Clare gets a call for help from Madame, her tipsy former mother-in-law and owner of the Village Blend, who asks Clare to join her at a trendy riverfront restaurant. On her way out, Clare discovers a dead woman floating in the river. Worse yet, Clare recognizes her as a Village Blend customer. Clare’s reluctant agreement to go along with the Cinder founder’s plan to revive both her brand and Cinder’s brings her into contact with many more people involved in the lucrative world of dating apps. With plenty of time on her hands, Clare, who has quite the reputation as a sleuth (Dead Cold Brew, 2017, etc.), decides to investigate the elusive Crest and the online dating scene by setting up her own Cinder account to lure Crest into a meeting—a plan that quickly becomes hazardous to her own health.

A complicated murder mystery with some penetrating insights into the treacherous world of dating apps and throwaway relationships.

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-48884-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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