The third from Stewart (The Wilson Deception, 2015, etc.) cleverly mixes real-life people and historical events. The...

THE BABE RUTH DECEPTION

In the aftermath of World War I, two unlikely partners reunite to protect those they love.

Babe Ruth, who’s just starting his fabled career with the Yankees, is filming a movie that hopes to profit from his fame. Because Dr. Jamie Fraser’s wife, Eliza, was involved in making the movie, they chat with Babe at the premiere. He’s unhappy to learn that one of the backers is Abie Attell, champion prizefighter and close associate of notorious gambler Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein is rumored to have fixed the 1919 World Series, and Babe is worried that the authorities will be digging up material on the 1918 series, in which he played for the winning Red Sox. He admits to Fraser that he owes Rothstein more money than he can repay, but Fraser’s sure he’s hiding something even more troublesome. During the war Fraser helped his friend Speed Cook, a former Negro League player, get his son Joshua off a bogus charge. Now he turns to Speed for help with Babe’s problem. When a bomb goes off at the Morgan Bank, Joshua comes to the rescue of Fraser’s daughter, Violet. Her society boyfriend dumps her after her leg is hurt badly enough to require a brace, and she and Joshua begin seeing each other without telling their parents. When the Frasers find out, they fear their daughter could be reviled and Joshua killed. Undeterred, Violet moves in with Joshua, who’s taken up bootlegging to finance their move to Europe, where mixed marriages are less stigmatized. As Fraser and Speed use their knowledge and contacts to help Babe, they little know that their own family problems will become entangled with his and put their lives in danger.

The third from Stewart (The Wilson Deception, 2015, etc.) cleverly mixes real-life people and historical events. The problems of the unlikely sleuths will particularly appeal to baseball fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0200-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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