Zestful heroics. Should rise to the top like one of Cussler’s real-life lost ships.

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WHITE DEATH

Fourth in the new, co-authored, Kurt Austin series (Fire Ice, 2002, etc.), which has been received with restrained jubilance.

Once more Cussler/Kemprecos open with a historical anchor for their tale. West of the British Isles in 1515, a sprightly Basque caravel battles three Spanish war galleys and sinks two of them before the third takes off. In Germany in 1935, the huge hydrogen-filled zeppelin Nietzsche sets forth on a secret flight to reach the North Pole—though the world will hear if success is had. Entering the Arctic, however, the German captain spies a ship stranded on the ice, and he descends (fatally?) to lend aid. Then, in the present, by the Faroe Islands halfway between Denmark and Iceland, whale-huggers on the big, blindingly psychedelic Sea Sentinel make an SOS eco-intervention to save a pod of fifty whales about to be slaughtered by Faroe Islanders. But a chopper overhead somehow takes control of the ship and rams it into the Leif Eriksson, a Danish cruiser, sinking the cruiser with several men still aboard in an airtight space. Twelve hundred miles away, off the Berents Sea by the northern coast of Russia, Kurt Austin tests a new submersible as part of his massive search-and-survey NUMA ship, the William Beebe. The new submersible has the ability to attach to the hull of a sunken ship (or a submarine with its hatch locked shut) with a big sucker mouth that allows a laser to cut a hole and salvagers to enter the lost ship. How can Kurt, his colleague Joe Zavala, and their new submersible answer the rescue call 1200 miles away before the trapped Danes are dead? Well, by Russian transport planes. Once the rescue is effected, a bit of Danish romance blooms before Kurt finds himself facing the megaloid multinationals whose chopper sank the Leif Eriksson, not to mention a madman’s museum—and the horn of Roland!

Zestful heroics. Should rise to the top like one of Cussler’s real-life lost ships.

Pub Date: July 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-15041-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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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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