Not much in the way of felonies, and most of the other 15 monks are ciphers. But Westlake’s sweetly consecrated hero, at...

BROTHERS KEEPERS

A tiny band of monks facing the loss of their monastery in midtown Manhattan fight back in this slight, humorous 1975 charmer.

You wouldn’t expect to find the Crispinite Order of the Novum Mundum lodged on Park Avenue between 51st and 52nd streets, and come New Year’s Day, you probably won’t. While they were meditating on otherworldly matters, their 99-year-lease, last renewed in 1876, was optioned from Daniel Flattery, the current owner of their land, by developer Roger Dwarfmann, who plans to raze historic structures all along the block to make way for a 67-story office building. The 16 sort-of-cloistered monks can’t even find their copy of the lease, and they haven’t a clue how to stop the wrecking ball from exiling them to the likes of New Paltz. The most important upshot of a delegation’s visit to Dan Flattery is that Brother Benedict, the winsome narrator who’s been a member of CONM for 10 years, falls head over heels in love with Eileen Flattery Bone, their leaseholder’s daughter. Anyone familiar with Westlake’s peerless crime comedies (Help I Am Being Held Prisoner, 1974, etc.) will be confident that the unlikely romance between Brother Benedict, ne Charles Rowbottom, and the divorcée who predictably describes herself as “the sincerest of Flatterys” will end in laughter, and the high point of the tale is this modern Candide’s trip to Puerto Rico to plead both his order’s case and his own to a young woman with nothing but sun and surf on her mind.

Not much in the way of felonies, and most of the other 15 monks are ciphers. But Westlake’s sweetly consecrated hero, at once disconcertingly direct and utterly clueless, will bring you to your feet cheering for his impossible cause.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78565-715-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Titan Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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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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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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