The second in Harrison’s historical series (A Shameful Murder, 2015) paints a fascinating picture of life in Ireland as it...

A SHOCKING ASSASSINATION

The burning and looting may have subsided, but Ireland’s struggle for independence has left the city of Cork still very much on edge in the 1920s.

Reverend Mother Aquinas is shopping at the English Market for eggs for her ailing gardener when she witnesses the shooting of city engineer James Doyle. The killer appears to be Sam O’Mahony, a young reporter whose mother, a stallholder in the market, struggled to educate him for a life better than hers. Sam claims that someone dropped the murder weapon on his foot, startling him enough to pick it up in the darkness when the lights went off. Although Sam’s arrested, the Reverend Mother is inclined to believe in his innocence, since she saw his face after the murder and also spotted a trench-coated man, a hat hiding his face, who vanished before the police arrived. Luckily, the detective in charge is one of her former students, Inspector Patrick Cashman. Despite the evidence against Sam, Cashman has a certain amount of faith in the clever Reverend Mother and is willing to look for other suspects. Doyle had the reputation of being open to bribes during the city’s rebuilding, favoring those with money and political influence over the small businessmen and poor folk who lost their homes and livelihoods. As the Republicans continue to harass the remaining English forces, another of the Reverend Mother’s students, a young woman in love with Sam, plans to break him out of jail. Meanwhile, the Reverend Mother, who has highly placed connections in Cork, is using them to search for others who might have motives to kill Doyle. Her suspects cover a wide range of the social and political scale, and getting too close to the truth puts her own life in danger.

The second in Harrison’s historical series (A Shameful Murder, 2015) paints a fascinating picture of life in Ireland as it makes the painful transition to a republic. A vexing mystery and a clever sleuth cap it off.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8596-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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