A fast-moving, dialogue-driven tale so effortlessly and irresistibly spun that you may well finish it before you notice that...



“Roving troubleshooter” Rushmore McKenzie agrees to look into a case of industrial sabotage and ends up shooting a lot more trouble than he expected.

McKenzie’s poker buddy Ian Gotz, an accountant, may be better at keeping books than at filling inside straights, but even he knows something’s gone seriously wrong for Erin Peterson, the friend he wishes were much more. The founder of Salsa Girl Salsa has evidently been riding too high for the taste of whomever's squirted superglue into the locks in her latest manufacturing plant. A prank, she tells McKenzie when he drops by to ask how she is and she realizes that her aspiring lover has given him the news she shared in confidence. But McKenzie (What the Dead Leave Behind, 2017, etc.) brushes that explanation away: The plant is in the middle of nowhere, and there’s zero chance that teenage kids would have taken that much trouble to mess with someone they didn’t know and couldn’t watch. Soon enough McKenzie’s suspicions of some darker motive are confirmed when someone superglues the door locks on a delivery truck that has to get the refrigerated salsa to Minnesota stores before it warms up and spoils. Since Erin has never had time for a boyfriend, let alone an ex-lover with a grudge, McKenzie focuses on the obscenely rich Bignell family, whose wastrel scion, Randy Bignell-Sax, loaned Erin the money she needed to launch Salsa Girl, and whose family-held company, Minnesota Foods, distributes her six flavors. Although a bombing at the plant jolts McKenzie, it’ll take several more nudges before he realizes that Salsa Girl has been built on a foundation that’s been rotten from the beginning and that bigger threats are on the way.

A fast-moving, dialogue-driven tale so effortlessly and irresistibly spun that you may well finish it before you notice that nobody has died, except for a couple of faceless gangbangers executed offstage, and that the elaborately choreographed denouement doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-09453-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Child builds tension to unbearable extremes, then blows it out in sharply choreographed violence, even if his plot has more...


From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 5

Smashingly suspenseful fifth in Child’s series (Running Blind, 2000, etc.) lands this British author’s rootless, laconic action hero in southwest Texas, where a femme fatale lures him into a family squabble that inevitably turns violent.

In the kind of daylight-noir setting that Jim Thompson loved, ex-military cop Jack Reacher has his thumb out on a lonely west Texas highway when he’s picked up by Carmine Greer, the Mexican-American wife of bad-ol’-boy Sloop Greer. It seems that Sloop, elder son of a white-trash-turned-oil-rich ranching dynasty, is nearing the end of a prison term for tax evasion, and Carmine, whose body Reacher sees is marked with signs of physical abuse, wants Reacher to be her bodyguard—or, failing that, kill the man in such a way that Carmine can still hold on to her terminally cute six-year-old daughter Ellie. Reacher refuses but decides to meet the folks: Rusty, Sloop’s racist, charmless mother, and Bobby, Sloop’s stupid, pugnacious brother. Meanwhile, a trio of paid assassins is littering the Texas roadside with corpses, starting with Sloop’s lawyer, Al Eugene. In a set-piece as good as anything in Elmore Leonard, Bobby sends two ranch-hands to ambush Reacher at an Abilene roadhouse filled with 20 other cowboys spoiling for a fight. Reacher walks away without a scratch, telling Bobby that his hospitalized ranch-hands have “quit.” Child twists his increasingly hokey plot into a pretzel when Sloop is found dead and Carmine confesses to killing him. Reacher just can’t believe that Carmine is guilty and teams up with Alice Aarons, a leggy Jewish lesbian fresh out of law school, who trusts him with her car, her handgun, and her life.

Child builds tension to unbearable extremes, then blows it out in sharply choreographed violence, even if his plot has more holes in it than the shirt Reacher uses for target practice.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14726-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet