McAvoy’s second (The Dark Winter, 2012) is an excellent police procedural featuring sex, violence and complex characters who...

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ORIGINAL SKIN

A police detective’s curiosity discloses a connection between some nasty cases.

Alas for DS Aector McAvoy’s lovely gypsy wife and two small children: The shy, ginger-haired Scot’s boss, Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh, who runs the Serious and Organized Crime Unit, calls him away from his family because she needs his help with a series of murders and tortures caused by a fight for control of the local marijuana trade between the Vietnamese gangs who currently run it and a ruthless group trying to take over. Their patch, the East Yorkshire city of Hull and vicinity, has suffered for years, since the time when it was home to a profitable fishing fleet. McAvoy finds a cellphone that makes him return to the death of Simon Appleyard, a young man involved in kinky sex groups—a death that had been written off as a suicide. Soon after Pharaoh gives McAvoy permission to check out Appleyard’s death, she winds up in the hospital after she’s attacked by dogs belonging to someone connected to the new gang. Although McAvoy would rather be home with his young family, his sense of justice pushes him forward. Unfortunately, his investigation leads to some powerful local politicians who are risking their careers by indulging in sexual behavior as risky as Appleyard’s. While McAvoy and Pharaoh cautiously investigate the powerful politicians and the dangerous drug lords, Appleyard's best friend, a young woman who joined him in the dark world of no-holds-barred sex, is targeted for death.

McAvoy’s second (The Dark Winter, 2012) is an excellent police procedural featuring sex, violence and complex characters who are quirky but likable.

Pub Date: May 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-15865-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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