by C.W. Grafton ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 2, 2020
Perfect for fans of A.A. Fair’s brash contemporaneous Bertha Cool/Donald Lam franchise.
The Library of Congress’ series of reprints of classic crime novels kicks off with a 1943 case by mystery writer Sue Grafton's father that sends a very junior lawyer nosing around among the dirty secrets of the well-heeled family that dominates Harpersville, Kentucky, in both good ways and bad.
Why would William Jasper Harper, approaching Ruth McClure only 10 days after her husband’s death in a car crash, offer her four times the listed value of John McClure’s hundred shares of Harper Products Company’s stock? His generosity to his old employee, which comes with significant strings attached, smells funny to Ruth and even funnier to Gilmore Henry, the attorney she retains to look into the offer. Even before Gil's arrival in Harpersville, someone shoots out a tire of the car he’s driving, leaving him wondering whether the intended target was him or James Mead, the senior partner whose car he borrowed, who turns out to be representing Harper Products. Ruth quickly sours on Gil; her adopted brother, Tim, punches him out; the local sheriff offers to arrest him if he doesn’t leave town on the next train; and that’s all before William Jasper Harper gets himself shot to death. The suspects include a neighbor whose policies about selling eggs make no sense, the accountants who handled Harper’s books, and, of course, the deceased’s invalid wife and daughter, who now stand much closer to millionaire status. There’ll be more murders, more attempts on Gil’s life, and many more wisecracks. Editor Leslie S. Klinger’s conscientious period footnotes contrast amusingly with Grafton’s headlong pace.Perfect for fans of A.A. Fair’s brash contemporaneous Bertha Cool/Donald Lam franchise.
Pub Date: June 2, 2020
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 6, 2024
A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.
When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024
Page Count: 480
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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