Some thrillers are beach reads. Palumbo’s are strictly for late at night and for readers who have no pressing engagements...

NIGHT TERRORS

Pittsburgh clinical psychologist Daniel Rinaldi (Fever Dream, 2011, etc.) finds to his sorrow that even serial killers have fans.

Now that Wesley Currim has confessed to killing wealthy Wheeling coal-mine executive Edward Meachem and led Chief Avery Block and Detective Sgt. Harve Randall to the headless corpse, you’d think the case would be closed. But Wes’ mother, Maggie, swears he’s innocent and provides him with a cast-iron alibi he’s determined to repudiate. Do Block and Randall have the right man in custody? Dr. Rinaldi, who went along with them since Wes had refused to talk unless he was called in, can’t say. And he has no time to yield to Maggie’s pleas and break Wes’ confession because he’s been snatched off the street by FBI agent Neal Alcott and plunged into a different nightmare. Even though John Jessup, convicted of killing four prostitutes, has been beaten to death during a riot in an Ohio prison, the pen pal calling himself “Your Biggest Fan” is determined to avenge him by carrying on in his tradition. In short order, the prison guard who killed Jessup, the judge who sentenced him to four life sentences and the Cleveland ADA who prosecuted him are shot. Not surprisingly, Lyle Barnes, the retired FBI profiler who helped nail Jessup, is having night terrors, and Alcott wants Rinaldi to meet with him and calm him down. For his part, Rinaldi wants to be left alone to consummate his stymied romance with Detective Eleanor Lowrey of the Pittsburgh PD. How likely is that when the entire tri-state region is full of serial killers and killers-in-training?

Some thrillers are beach reads. Palumbo’s are strictly for late at night and for readers who have no pressing engagements early the next day.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4642-0129-5

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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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