Riddled with implausible situations and light on the research, this plodding tale is for die-hard Baldacci fans only.

READ REVIEW

THE LAST MILE

Amos Decker, Baldacci’s hulking former NFL player and one-time police investigator, is back for a case involving death row inmates, a brutal double murder, and a shattered sports career.

When readers first met Amos Decker, he was a socially inept giant mired in the past; his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law were brutally murdered in Decker’s own home. Living out of a tiny motel room and working as a private investigator, Decker finally solved their murders and helped the FBI put a relentless killer to bed. Now, Decker has reported for duty at a special FBI unit to work cold cases. Commanded by Special Agent Ross Bogart, the unit includes journalist Alexandra Jamison, clinical psychologist Lisa Davenport, and the sullen Todd Milligan, an FBI field agent. The team reports for their first day of duty and almost immediately travels from Quantico to Texas to work the case of a former NFL shoo-in, Melvin Mars, who—on the brink of the pro football draft—was arrested, charged, and convicted of killing his parents. But on the eve of Mars’ execution, another man in another state, also on death row, confesses to killing the pair. Upon their arrival in Texas, the team from Quantico finds the case against Mars makes less and less sense. When readers first met Decker, he was maladjusted and brilliant, his NFL career cut short by a vicious hit that altered his life and left him with perfect recall. And it was his incredible memory that solved his cases. This new, improved, vanilla Decker is less interesting than the damaged hero Baldacci first introduced. And while the case starts out with plenty of potential, Decker’s incredible memory really isn’t flexed much here, so it’s ultimately solved by ordinary detective work.

Riddled with implausible situations and light on the research, this plodding tale is for die-hard Baldacci fans only.

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4555-8645-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more