It may not be a game, but Moss’ debut isn’t really an adventure either, since the owner of VegasVegas turns out to be...

READ REVIEW

THIS ISN'T A GAME

An offshore online casino is caught between bankruptcy and blacklisting when a long shot pays off.

Kenny, linemaker for VegasVegas.com, would rather stick to handicapping predictable events like football games and horse races. But VegasVegas owner Jackson Oliver, insisting that BigFatJackpot.com made more profit from the Michael Jackson trial than from the World Series, puts up an entertainment page for sideshow bets, like the outcome of The Bachelorette. The Andrew Marvel trial is a current favorite, with odds running 2 to 5 for a guilty verdict for the movie director accused of killing his wife, Audrey, in their summer home in Vermont. Acquittal is 7 to 4, and 100 to 1 against the charges being dropped, odds so long that Jackson is willing to raise the limit to $1,000 for Cass Gallaway, a nobody from Greensboro, Vermont. Next day, of course, the DA announces the dismissal of the charges, based on a videotape his office received showing Marvel at a motel three hours away at the time Audrey was killed. Jackson can’t afford to pay off; Gallaway threatens to report him to the Offshore Gaming Commission if he doesn’t get his winnings within three days. So to avoid the commission’s blacklist, Jackson leaves sunny Costa Rica for Greensboro, where he bribes the owner of the Morning Loon Motel to give him a room that would normally be snapped up by one of the reporters covering the trial. Readers expecting juicy murder details or an inside peek into the glamorous world of offshore gambling are treated instead to a tepid slog through rural Vermont as Jackson grapples with questions like “Who was the last person to log into Cass Gallaway’s account on the computer at the public library?” and “Why did Gallaway go all the way to Brattleboro to stare at a farmer’s antique weathervane?”

It may not be a game, but Moss’ debut isn’t really an adventure either, since the owner of VegasVegas turns out to be BoringBoring.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-464-20627-6

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

LADY IN THE LAKE

Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this historical fiction about a real-life unsolved drowning.

In her most ambitious work to date, Lippman (Sunburn, 2018, etc.) tells the story of Maddie Schwartz, an attractive 37-year-old Jewish housewife who abruptly leaves her husband and son to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist, and Cleo Sherwood, an African-American cocktail waitress about whom little is known. Sherwood's body was found in a lake in a city park months after she disappeared, and while no one else seems to care enough to investigate, Maddie becomes obsessed—partly due to certain similarities she perceives between her life and Cleo's, partly due to her faith in her own detective skills. The story unfolds from Maddie's point of view as well as that of Cleo's ghost, who seems to be watching from behind the scenes, commenting acerbically on Maddie's nosing around like a bull in a china shop after getting a job at one of the city papers. Added to these are a chorus of Baltimore characters who make vivid one-time appearances: a jewelry store clerk, an about-to-be-murdered schoolgirl, "Mr. Helpline," a bartender, a political operative, a waitress, a Baltimore Oriole, the first African-American female policewoman (these last two are based on real people), and many more. Maddie's ambition propels her forward despite the cost to others, including the family of the deceased and her own secret lover, a black policeman. Lippman's high-def depiction of 1960s Baltimore and the atmosphere of the newsroom at that time—she interviewed associates of her father, Baltimore Sun journalist Theo Lippman Jr., for the details—ground the book in fascinating historical fact.The literary gambit she balances atop that foundation—the collage of voices—works impressively, showcasing the author's gift for rhythms of speech. The story is bigger than the crime, and the crime is bigger than its solution, making Lippman's skill as a mystery novelist work as icing on the cake.

The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom and the city it covers.

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-239001-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more