Stephanie Plum goes into the backwoods in an amusingly wild ride through parts of Florida tourists rarely visit.

MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN

A family trip to the Florida Cracker Trail to honor the past becomes a hunt for a clever murderer.

Mace Bauer and her much-married Mama head off on horseback as part of a large group following the trail cowboys once used to move cattle to market. When Mace and Mama stumble upon the body of wealthy rancher Lawton Bramble, who’s provided land for an overnight stop, Doc Abel proclaims it a heart attack, but Mace has a feeling it may have been poison in the chili he was brewing. Lawton’s much younger wife Wynonna puts on a pretty good show of grief; his daughter Belle appears devastated; and his son Trey stays drunk. Though Trey was Mace’s high-school crush, her heart still belongs to Miami Detective Carlos Martinez, who returned to Miami after the case in which Mace’s Mama was chief suspect (Mama Does Time, 2008). Mace’s life goes into overdrive when her sisters, Maddie and Marty, Mama’s fiancé, Sal, and Carlos all join the trail ride. Trey becomes amorous, his ex-fiancée Austin enraged and Carlos jealous. The obligatory pranks escalate from a ripped tent to a rattlesnake to a runaway horse. Mace maintains her tough shell even though Mama advises her to be more of a clinging vine to win back Carlos. Both of them, however, are more interested in catching a murderer before Mace becomes another victim.

Stephanie Plum goes into the backwoods in an amusingly wild ride through parts of Florida tourists rarely visit.

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1330-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on...

MYSTIC RIVER

After five adventures for Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and his off-again lover Angela Gennaro (Prayers for Rain, 1999, etc.), Lehane tries his hand at a crossover novel that’s as dark as any of Patrick’s cases.

Even the 1975 prologue is bleak. Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus are playing, or fighting, outside Sean’s parents’ house in the Point neighborhood of East Buckingham when a car pulls up, one of the two men inside flashes a badge, and Sean and Jimmy’s friend Dave Boyle gets bundled inside, allegedly to be driven home to his mother for a scolding but actually to get kidnapped. Though Dave escapes after a few days, he never really outlives his ordeal, and 25 years later it’s Jimmy’s turn to join him in hell when his daughter Katie is shot and beaten to death in the wilds of Pen Park, and State Trooper Sean, just returned from suspension, gets assigned to the case. Sean knows that both Dave and Jimmy have been in more than their share of trouble in the past. And he’s got an especially close eye on Jimmy, whose marriage brought him close to the aptly named Savage family and who’s done hard time for robbery. It would be just like Jimmy, Sean knows, to ignore his friend’s official efforts and go after the killer himself. But Sean would be a lot more worried if he knew what Dave’s wife Celeste knows: that hours after catching sight of Katie in the last bar she visited on the night of her death, Dave staggered home covered with somebody else’s blood. Burrowing deep into his three sorry heroes and the hundred ties that bind them unbearably close, Lehane weaves such a spellbinding tale that it’s easy to overlook the ramshackle mystery behind it all.

An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on his characters’ heads.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16316-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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