Plenty of action, humor, and literary allusions drive the story to a bang-up conclusion. Johnson (Dry Bones, 2015, etc.)...

The collision of biker gangs, a millionaire, numerous belligerent drunks, and an aging biker chick stirs up one nasty mess.

Sheriff Walt Longmire, his 250-pound dog, Dog, and his friend Henry Standing Bear drive Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird, Lola, to Hulett, Wyoming, towing Henry's motorcycle for another try at a race Henry won years ago. The town of 400 is hosting as many as 50,000 bikers policed only by Chief William Nutter and one deputy. Nutter’s proud of his latest toy, a surplus Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle financed by millionaire businessman Bob Nance that Walt has to show him how to start. Next on Nutter’s wish list is Walt's and Henry’s help finding out what happened to Bodaway Torres, a young biker who lies in critical condition in nearby Rapid City, most likely having been run off the road. A member of a Southwest biker gang with a long string of priors, Torres turns out to be the son of Lola Wojciechowski, the namesake of Henry’s car and Walt’s granddaughter. Lola wants Henry to find out what happened to Torres, but Henry, convinced she’s poison, won’t help until Lola hints that Torres is his son. The accident was reported by the wealthy Nance’s daughter, who has drug problems and claims not to know Torres, even though his cellphone shows numerous calls from her. After several informative conversations, some leading to fisticuffs, Walt and Henry meet Brady Post, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who’s gone undercover with the bikers but won’t reveal what he’s investigating. Walt’s undersheriff and lover, Victoria Moretti, flies in from Philadelphia, where she’s been seeking the killer of her brother and Walt’s son-in-law. Both her skills and Henry’s are sorely needed when all hell breaks loose.

Plenty of action, humor, and literary allusions drive the story to a bang-up conclusion. Johnson (Dry Bones, 2015, etc.) never disappoints.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-42694-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016


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

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020


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

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 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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