The perennially popular Jack-the-Ripper story is a handy selling point, but Golemon's efforts to explode the Ripper legend...

RIPPER

While conducting a raid on a murderous Mexican drug gang hiding across the border in underground caves, an ultrasecret U.S. government agency out to rescue one of its own encounters blind killer beasts that point back to the laboratory origins of Jack the Ripper.

In his seventh Event Group thriller, Golemon reconvenes many of the principals of previous installments (Legacy, 2011, etc.), including headstrong go-to guy Col. Jack Collins; his love, feisty geologist Sarah McIntire; Department 5656 director Niles Compton; boyish security man Jason Ryan; and French black-op veteran Col. Henri Farbeaux, an antiquities addict who holds the Event Group responsible for the death of his wife. The action shifts from Mexico, where the ruthless drug lord Anaconda has abducted McIntire, to the Event Group complex in Nevada to CIA headquarters in Virginia. The president of the United States issues urgent directives, the rogue government group Men in Black insinuates itself in the plot, and weird stuff happens. If only the contemporary events were as tense and atmospheric as the opening scenes in Victorian England involving a timid Robert Louis Stevenson, the murderous American science professor he implicates and a queenly cover-up of the government's involvement with the professor. In a subsequent historical chapter, young George S. Patton is forever changed by a grisly encounter. But once the novel leaps ahead to the modern day, its fear factor fades and its characters become less interesting—though Sarah's attraction to Farbeaux, likely to continue playing out in subsequent novels, has its moments.

The perennially popular Jack-the-Ripper story is a handy selling point, but Golemon's efforts to explode the Ripper legend are not inspired.

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-58080-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once...

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In Baldacci’s 19th (True Blue, 2009, etc.), boy and girl monster-hunters meet cute.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous—spearheads the first, an ad hoc group of monster-hunting vigilantes. Studly, tall Shaw (no first name supplied) is point guard for a rival team, shadowy enough to leave the matter of its origin ambiguous. While their respective teams reconnoiter and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly these are drawn to each other in the time-honored Hollywood fashion. Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favor. The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team-members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus, singularly inopportune since, as monsters go, Waller rises to the second coming of Caligula—ample testimony furnished by a six-page, unsparingly detailed torture scene. In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once again show the stuff it’s made of.

Pub Date: April 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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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

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