A solid, quietly satisfying work—perhaps not the stuff of accolades but successful in covering the territory it creates for...

THE DAUGHTERS OF SIMON LAMOREAUX

O. Henry Award–winning author Long (The Falling Boy, 1997, etc.) delivers a subdued tale of memory and character.

At 44, Miles Fanning has done well as owner of a small Seattle record company, but his personal life has soured—he’s now living at the recording studio since his wife suggested they take a break from marriage. Into this stalemate arrives an e-mail from Julia Lamoreaux, younger sister of his high-school girlfriend Carly. Beautiful and bright, Carly disappeared one afternoon while walking to meet Miles and was never heard from again. Life moved on for Miles, after the shock, although not for Julia. Obsessed with her sister's disappearance, the slightly neurotic, chain-smoking Julia flies to Seattle to `interview` Miles, to learn as much as she can about a sister she knew too little. Miles and Julia develop an intense relationship through e-mails and phone conversations, and within unravels the (far more interesting) story of the Lamoreaux girls and their deeply religious father, Simon. Members of the Messiah church, the Lamoreauxs lived a pious New England life, and the disappearance of Carly put into question the benevolence of God for all involved, but particularly for Simon, the novel's least present yet most compelling character. Miles is drawn by Julia's passion and is confronted with the ease with which he was able to forget Carly. The story builds on the connection Julia and Miles forge out of the bond of memory. When they meet again, desperation for answers is converted into a helpless, carnal need. The narrative stumbles toward the end when Miles suddenly (and incomprehensibly) flies back to Connecticut in a futile attempt to solve the case, though the strength of the characters rights the fall.

A solid, quietly satisfying work—perhaps not the stuff of accolades but successful in covering the territory it creates for itself.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-684-85414-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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