Hector’s third case (Toros & Torsos, 2008, etc.) is another intriguing and convincing mix of history and hardboiled...



Was the shotgun blast that ended Ernest Hemingway’s life on July 2, 1961, really self-inflicted, or was it murder?

Hemingway’s oldest and closest friend, tough crime novelist Hector Lassiter, is full of misgivings as he travels to Papa’s Idaho ranch. Rumors abound that among the manuscripts Hemingway’s fourth wife Mary is guarding may be things that should not see the light of day. Mary has decided that she should be the subject of a biography, and to pen it she’s chosen Richard Paulson, an alcoholic professor with a beautiful and very pregnant wife. But Paulson aims to prove that Mary murdered Hemingway. He has help from a sleazy author, Donovan Creedy, a jealous wannabe who’s been on Hemingway’s case since his early days in Paris and now works for the FBI and the CIA. Racist, paranoid J. Edgar Hoover, who hounded every artist in the country, recruited Creedy years ago to spy on Hemingway. He’s still digging up dirt and is not above giving Paulson LSD to spike Mary’s drink. Lassiter carefully soothes hard-drinking Mary, reluctantly falls for Hannah Paulson despite her advanced pregnancy and finds himself in mortal jeopardy from both Creedy and an unidentified man who’s stalking Hannah. Papa’s failing health may indeed have led to suicide, but Lassiter must bring all his formidable talents to bear if he’s to flummox Hoover and protect Hemingway’s legacy.

Hector’s third case (Toros & Torsos, 2008, etc.) is another intriguing and convincing mix of history and hardboiled mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-55437-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2009

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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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