The mob intrigue, as is customary with Rosenfelt (On Borrowed Time, 2011, etc.), is unconvincing, and, despite the title,...

LEADER OF THE PACK

Dog-loving Andy Carpenter, Paterson, New Jersey's gift to the criminal bar, gets another chance at a murder case he lost six years earlier.

Not even Joey Desimone disputes that his father, Carmine, runs one of central New Jersey’s dominant crime families, or that Joey carried on an adulterous affair with Karen Solarno, or that he was angry and hurt when she broke it off to give her marriage another shot. But Joey vigorously disputed prosecutor Dylan Campbell’s accusation that he rang the Solarnos’ doorbell and gunned down Karen and her husband, Richard. Despite Andy’s best efforts, Joey’s story didn’t sway a jury of his peers, and he’s already done six years of his life sentence when Andy, following an unwitting tip he’s gotten from Carmine’s aging brother and enforcer Nicky Fats, realizes that Richard Solarno was up to his gizzard in gunrunning and that a group of his clients, paramilitary survivalists who deemed a shipment he supplied short on firepower, had threatened his life—facts that Lt. Kyle Wagner of the Montana State Police not only knew, but duly reported to Dylan Campbell six years ago. Even Henry “Hatchet” Henderson, the irascible judge who seems to preside over all Andy’s trials (Dog Tags, 2010, etc.), acknowledges that the prosecution’s concealment of such exculpatory evidence constitutes grounds for a new trial. If only the trail weren’t so cold—and cooling further every day, thanks to the executions of Nicky Fats, Carmine and associates as far away as Peru at the hands of Simon Ryerson, a Harvard MBA who thinks the time is ripe for a hostile takeover of the Desimone empire and doesn’t mind stepping on Joey’s toes in order to close the deal.

The mob intrigue, as is customary with Rosenfelt (On Borrowed Time, 2011, etc.), is unconvincing, and, despite the title, there’s not much for dog fanciers this time around. But Andy is as effervescent as ever, and the courtroom byplay is consistently entertaining.

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-64804-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Box handles this foolproof formula with complete assurance, keeping the pot at a full boil until the perfunctory,...

THE HIGHWAY

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Breaking Point, 2013, etc.) works the area around Yellowstone National Park in this stand-alone about a long-haul trucker with sex and murder on his mind.

The Lizard King, as he calls himself, normally targets lot lizards—prostitutes who work the parking lots adjacent to the rest stops that dot interstate highways. But he’s more than happy to move up to a higher class of victim when he runs across the Sullivan sisters. Danielle, 18, and Gracie, 16, are supposed to be driving from their mother’s home in Denver to their father’s in Omaha, but Danielle has had the bright idea of heading instead to Bozeman, Mont., to visit her boyfriend, Justin Hoyt. Far from home, their whereabouts known to only a few people, the girls are the perfect victims even before they nearly collide with the Lizard King’s rig and Danielle flips him off. Hours later, very shortly after he’s caught up with them in the depths of Yellowstone and done his best to eradicate every trace of his abduction, Justin, worried that Danielle refused his last phone call, tells his father that something bad has happened. Cody Hoyt, an investigator for the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Department, is already having a tough day: At the insistence of his crooked boss, Sheriff Tubman, his longtime student and new partner, Cassandra Dewell, has just caught him planting evidence in an unrelated murder, and he’s been suspended from his job. If he’s lost his badge, though, Cody’s got plenty of time on his hands to drive downstate and meet with State Trooper Rick Legerski, the ex-husband of his dispatcher’s sister, to talk about what to do next. And so the countdown begins.

Box handles this foolproof formula with complete assurance, keeping the pot at a full boil until the perfunctory, anticlimactic and unsatisfactory ending.

Pub Date: July 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-58320-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Not terribly suspenseful, but as a dissection of a family in crisis, it works.

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY

In Swedish author Edvardsson’s U.S debut, a family is shattered by a heinous crime.

Adam is a well-respected pastor, and his wife, Ulrika, is a defense attorney. Their daughter, Stella, has just turned 18 and is planning a trip to Asia. From the outside, the Sandells are the perfect family, but that facade crumbles when Stella is arrested for the brutal stabbing of 32-year-old Christopher Olsen at a playground. On the night of the murder, Adam finds Stella’s shirt covered in dark stains; he will do anything to keep his daughter out of prison, including providing a false alibi, but his decision contradicts his faith and shakes him to his core. The story is told in three parts, from the viewpoints of Adam, Stella, and Ulrika. Adam presents Stella as a troubled child and out-of-control teen. Stella reveals that much of her acting out stemmed from her desire to control her own life, her father’s overprotectiveness, and her mother’s perceived coldness. Further, Adam and Ulrika’s failure to report a sexual assault on Stella by a trusted camp director when Stella was 15 created a permanent fissure in the family. Stella’s whirlwind affair with the wealthy and attentive Chris is complicated by his ex-girlfriend, who tells Stella he’s abusive. The romance eventually spins out of control, but could Stella be a killer? Much of Ulrika’s narrative is spent in the courtroom during Stella’s murder trial, which may lead some readers to feel like she got short shrift. In between flashes of courtroom drama, Ulrika contemplates her marriage, motherhood, and her alienation in the face of what she felt was an impenetrable relationship between Adam and Stella. The murder mystery falls a bit flat and the resolution is overly neat, but Edvardsson ably weaves themes of parental guilt and sacrifice into a nuanced family drama.

Not terribly suspenseful, but as a dissection of a family in crisis, it works.

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20443-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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