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THE LONGMIRE DEFENSE

Learning the history of a beloved protagonist raises an exciting mystery to a higher level.

Longmire lovers, rejoice! He’s back with a deeply personal case that uncovers family secrets.

Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, has a long record of solving crimes under unorthodox circumstances. This time, Walt’s hunt for a lost tourist leads to an investigation that’s both personally wrenching and dangerous. The search area recalls a story his father told him about an elk hunt he went on as a teen with his own father, Lloyd. During the hunt, the state accountant, Big Bill Sutherland, was shot and killed, and his murder is still unsolved. When Walt finds the tourist, he also finds a buried, custom-made .300 H&H Magnum that was probably the murder weapon in the Sutherland case. The owner of that rifle was Lloyd Longmire, a wealthy man and a tough taskmaster who used chess lessons to teach Walt about not only the game, but about life. This coldest of cold cases forces Walt to look into his grandfather, with whom he continued to have an adversarial relationship away from the chessboard. Although Walt and cemetery expert Jules Beldon find an empty coffin in Sutherland’s grave, Lucian Connally, who’d been the sheriff when Sutherland was killed, is extremely reticent about the ancient mystery. But Beldon’s shooting turns the cold case hot, and a long conversation with a childhood friend who’s now an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives stirs up long-lost memories for Walt. Powerful people pressure him to forget the old case, which is tied to vast amounts of money in a hidden fund. It doesn’t matter: Walt has his own moral code, refuses to bend, and is ready to unmask his grandfather as a murderer if that’s where the clues lead.

Learning the history of a beloved protagonist raises an exciting mystery to a higher level.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593297315

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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

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THE BURNING

A brutal, gripping look at murder in a self-enclosed community with many secrets to hide.

When two police officers stop for a bit of dalliance, screams from the nearby woods introduce them to a puzzling and horrifying murder.

Chuck Skidmore and Mona Kurtz don’t arrive in time to rescue a man who’s being burned at the stake, a sight that will haunt their dreams. Police Chief Kate Burkholder arrives on the scene with her husband, John Tomasetti, an agent of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who’ll join her and many other cops in a task force investigating the bizarre murder. Born Amish, Kate ran away from Painters Mill, found her vocation in law enforcement, and eventually came home as the police department’s chief. Over the years, she’s built up some trust with the local Amish community, who generally prefer to keep their problems to themselves. The victim is Milan Swanz, a troubled former schoolmate of Kate’s whom she’s arrested several times. A divorced man with four children, he’d been recently excommunicated by the Amish. Although Milan was far from popular, Kate meets a wall of silence from even her own brother, one of many people who had disputes with the hot-tempered man. Kate’s theory of the crime, based on stories in a book popular with the Amish, is so bizarre that she has trouble believing it herself. When her brother is arrested, she’s removed from the task force but continues to investigate, putting her in the sights of some very determined killers.

A brutal, gripping look at murder in a self-enclosed community with many secrets to hide.

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781250781116

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2024

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