CYCLOPS

Comic-strip specialist Cussler (Raise the Titanic!) returns with as implausible a tale as he can invent, again featuring death-proof underwater-recovery mariner Dirk Pitt. An antique blimp carrying multimillionaire publisher Raymond LeBaron is searching for the US Navy collier Cyclops, which went down in the Caribbean in 1918, when the blimp loses radio contact with land and disappears for 10 days. It reappears, manned by dessicated dead men, floating toward the Sonesta Hotel in Key Biscayne. Pitt, who is enjoying himself sailboarding, spots the colossus and snags a line from it, just averting a tragedy. Later, Mrs. LeBaron refuses to identify one of the dead, who is wearing her husband's clothes and jewelry, as LeBaron. As it happens, the three substitute corpses are Soviet cosmonauts whose bodies had been recovered and frozen a year ago. By whom? Meanwhile, the President is buttonholed by a caddy on a golf course who pretends to be carrying a bomb and reveals a fantastic private enterprise scheme which placed a US team on the moon six years ago and is now about to return its men to earth and go public. But the Russians are also establishing their own team on the moon! What is the connection between Cyclops and the moon colony? Only that LeBaron is among the rich founders of the colony, and had hoped to recover from the collier a secret treasure: a six-foot solid gold goddess with a 30-pound emerald for a head and giant ruby in her breast, stolen from a wealthy native tribe. But when Pitt locates and boards the sunken ship, the statue is missing. Also, the Russians have a ship loaded to the gills with explosive ammonium nitrate in Havana harbor and plan to blow up Havana and Castro in a tremendous fireball. Castro now wishes to establish peace with Washington. Can Pitt save Havana? As a matter of fact, he doesn't altogether and is himself caught up in the fireball. But he's immortal, right? Nicely paced junk, expertly set in motion for ultraescapists who like hollow noises between their ears.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1985

ISBN: 1451621027

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1985

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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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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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