Not much mystery, but plenty of action and local color make this installment more fun than most thrillers ripped from the...

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KILL THE HEROES

Are terrorists making a statement by killing heroes, or is the motive more personal?

While former Army Ranger Charlie Henry and his girlfriend, Ruth, are attending a dedication for a new public park in Albuquerque, someone opens fire. Charlie, "a modern Navajo" who’s not comfortable being labeled a hero—"he knew that showing pride and immodesty was contrary to the Navajo Way of his ancestors"—promptly jumps into action. Even so, several people are injured and one killed. The incident is blamed on terrorism, but Charlie and Gordon Sweeney, his partner in FOB Pawn (Rob Thy Neighbor, 2016, etc.), find more reason to take a closer look because Charlie may have been the target. Meanwhile, Dawud Koury, a Christian Arab who risked his life serving as their interpreter in Afghanistan, is being harassed, and he and his family sorely need help. To top it off, Ruth, who’s been in the witness protection program, has to worry about the abusive, dangerous ex-husband who’s escaped from prison. The duo work with their friends in the local police force and get some help from a former CIA contact who’s using his vacation time to watch over Charlie. Since Nathan Whitaker, the chopper pilot who was the only park fatality, ran a company dedicated to helping vets find jobs, Charlie and Gordon look into the possibility that one of the company’s clients, some of whom suffer from PTSD, might have wanted him dead. Another suspect is the estranged husband of Whitaker’s girlfriend, a man with a bad attitude and a hair-trigger temper. Several other attacks on Charlie and notes claiming the Islamic State group is responsible have the FBI and Homeland Security looking even harder for terrorists, but Charlie’s far from convinced. The story will heat up with car chases and bullets flying before the truth comes out.

Not much mystery, but plenty of action and local color make this installment more fun than most thrillers ripped from the headlines.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-11966-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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