Kalteis (House of Blazes, 2016, etc.) paints a down-and-dirty picture of a punk-rock scene fueled by drugs and marred by...

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Sex, drugs, and punk rock in No Fun City.

Frankie Del Ray is a guitar player and singer who, along with bass player Arnie Binz and drummer Joey Thunder, constitutes Waves of Nausea. Trying to make it in the overcrowded punk scene in Vancouver is no easy feat, and Frankie supplements her meager income by working as a drug mule for Marty Sayles. Marty is interested in more than Frankie’s musical talents, but she stalls his further advances when she catches him in the filthy bathroom at the Falco’s Nest club with a drugged-up blonde. Marty may be the man with the money, but his ambitious driver and bodyguard, tough guy Zeke Chamas, soon starts bossing the other hirelings around. Though she’s fortunate to live with the aunt who brought her up, Frankie, chronically short on cash, keeps hauling dope even after her run-in with Sayles and a smacking around from Chamas. Johnny Falco, who’s renting his club from Sayles, is behind on his rent and other bills. Binz, who works part-time for Falco, has already suggested a way to make some money: ripping off some marijuana from one of the farms where Sayles has small patches planted in cornfields. Before Falco can agree to help, Binz goes off on his own, runs into resistance from Sayles’ pot minders, Sticky and Tucker, and ends up buried in the corn field. After Frankie, who’s been using the farm’s barn for practice sessions, can’t find Binz, Falco shows up and sits in, kindling suspicion in the minds of the caretakers. Once Frankie and Falco fall into a sexual relationship, she agrees to help him steal the pot. But a sudden calamitous turn seems to doom Frankie’s plans for a record deal to a swift and deadly finish.

Kalteis (House of Blazes, 2016, etc.) paints a down-and-dirty picture of a punk-rock scene fueled by drugs and marred by violence but buoyed by a heroine with plenty of faults and a grim determination to succeed.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77041-365-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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