Though not as winning or involving as Ice Fire, this is a solid, engaging thriller with a protagonist cut from a different...

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BLOOD GAME

Jock Boucher, the Cajun federal judge–turned–unlikely action hero, returns for his second life-threatening adventure: investigating the smuggling of arms across the Mexican border by superpowerful New Orleans industrialist Ray Dumont.

In Ice Fire (2012), the first installment in Lyons' series, Jock saved the world from an insidious plot by strangling two bad guys with his bare hands. Now, shaken by his propensity for killing people, he has decided to leave the bench. Then the president summons him to Washington for a personal talking-to. Temporarily relieved of trying cases, the well-off Jock is assigned to seek out and help victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. But after he and his police detective buddy Fitch discover a floating body during a fishing outing and Jock is threatened on the street by a gunman he kills with one punch, the judge goes into investigative mode—once again putting himself at mortal risk by looking into Dumont's ties to Mexican terrorists and a brewing conflict over Mexican oil and gas deposits. Dumont, hoping to get a federal judge in his stable, sidles up to Boucher socially, charming him and widower Jock's brilliant, beautiful, Mumbai-born girlfriend, Malika, at his casino. Jock draws unlikely support from a down-and-out shrimper whom he bullies into cleaning up his act. The narrative is peppered with minilessons on past conflicts between the U.S. and Mexico and tourist-guide–like commentary on New Orleans culture, cuisine and physical landmarks (Jock lives in a historical house).

Though not as winning or involving as Ice Fire, this is a solid, engaging thriller with a protagonist cut from a different cloth.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-2932-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Great storytelling about the pursuit of extrajudicial justice.

ONE MINUTE OUT

Ninth in the author’s Gray Man series (Mission Critical, 2019, etc.) in which “the most elite assassin in the world” has his hands full.

Ex–CIA Agent Courtland Gentry (the Gray Man) has Serbian war criminal Ratko Babic in his gun sight, but when he decides instead to kill the old beast face to face, he uncovers a massive sex-slavery ring. “I don’t get off on this,” the Gray Man lies to the reader as he stabs a sentry. “I only kill bad people.” Of course he does. If there weren’t an endless supply of them to slay, he’d have little reason to live. Now, countless young Eastern European women are being lured into sexual slavery and fed into an international pipeline, sold worldwide through “the Consortium.” Bad guys refer to their captives as products, not people. They are “merchandise,” but their plight haunts the Gray Man, so of course he is going to rescue as many women as he can. The road to their salvation will be paved with the dead as he enlists a team of fighters to strike the enemy, which includes a South African dude who is giddy for the chance to meet and kill the Gray Man. Meanwhile, Europol analyst Talyssa Corbu meets the hero while on a personal mission to rescue her sister. “You don’t seem like a psychopath,” she tells him. Indeed, though he could play one on TV. Corbu and her sister are tough and likable characters while the director of the Consortium leads a double life as family man and flesh merchant. Human trafficking is an enormous real-life problem, so it’s satisfying to witness our larger-than-life protagonist put his combat skills to good use. There will be a sequel, of course. As a friend tells the wounded Gentry at the end, he’ll be off killing bozos again before he knows it.

Great storytelling about the pursuit of extrajudicial justice.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09891-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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

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