by Codi Schneider ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14, 2021
A sweet and often amusing animal-centered whodunit.
Awards & Accolades
A murder disrupts the peaceful mountain town, and an irrepressible Norwegian Forest cat, along with a posse of dogs and a potbellied pig, is determined to find the culprit in this mystery.
Schneider’s clever tale opens with feline Bijou Bonanno discovering a lifeless body lying by the river. The usually feisty cat is stunned, as she immediately recognizes the face of the deceased; readers, however, don’t learn the victim’s identity until well into the novel. After this initial discovery, the story jumps back two months, recounting events leading up to the dastardly deed. Bijou, who takes her “Viking” heritage quite seriously, is an entertaining narrator, and within a few pages she’ll have readers chuckling; as a result, they’ll be willing to toss disbelief to the wind when they find out that she’s the manager of the town of Grey Birch’s Fox Burrow Pet Inn, assisted by her tiny Pomeranian partner, Skunk. (Both animals belong to Spencer Bonanno, the inn’s winsome human owner.) One day in early spring, a new guest, Eddy Line, enters the inn with his two pets—Hamlet, a baby potbellied pig, and Fennec, a frightened rescue pit bull puppy. Eddie’s just purchased the town’s old firehouse, where he plans to open the Witching Flour bakery; renovation of the building’s upstairs apartment isn’t yet complete, so he and his animals will be staying at the inn. Then somebody cuts the gas line to the firehouse, leaving a threatening note behind. There is a genuine mystery at the heart of the novel, and a disturbing animal-cruelty issue rears its head at one point, but for the most part, this is a jovial fantasy jaunt. The four-legged protagonists, including a few additional secondary players from the forest, are smart characters and have articulate conversations, and Bijou, the fearless, ever imaginative leader of the pack, is snarky but lovable and kind. Schneider is generally a skillful wordsmith, although her persistent use of the first-person subjective pronoun (“Tahereh walked over and gave Spencer and I a one-armed hug”) is surprising and disappointing.A sweet and often amusing animal-centered whodunit.
Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021
Page Count: 264
Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Michael Connelly ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.
The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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