by Donna Andrews ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 3, 2021
Fans will appreciate the helpful final chapter, which indicates exactly which malefactors have earned which legal punishment.
Still another group of historical reenactors wreaks havoc on Caerphilly, Virginia, where bedlam already reigns supreme.
Drama professor Michael Waterston’s decision to rehearse the D.C. theater company Arena Stage’s new production of Macbeth might have seemed a good idea at the time. But it’s reopened old scars in Drama’s running battle with Caerphilly College’s English department and forced Drama into an uneasy alliance with History that’s already showing some strain. Case in point: a deeply misbegotten invitation to the Dystopian Alternate Realities Krew to establish Camp Birnam, an 11th-century Scottish reenactment. DARK leader Calum MacLeod, ne Christopher Miller, is clearly off the rails. So is documentary filmmaker Damien Goodwin, who’s both a nuisance and a crank. Celia Rivers, the production’s Lady Macbeth, is beset by mounting digestive distress, and the mean girls led by Gina, the Second Witch, seem intent on outdoing the three weird sisters. And of course there’s the obligatory vandalism of property and mistreatment of animals. Following a screening of a Goodwin supercut video that delights in catching everyone from self-anointed Shakespeare professor Desmond Philpotts to Russ Brainard, who plays Banquo, in embarrassing situations, the documentarist is bashed to death with his own camera. Luckily, Michael’s battle-hardened wife, ornamental blacksmith Meg Langslow, is on hand to help police chief Henry Burke and senior deputy Vern Shiffley overcome the curse of the Scottish play, sift through layers and layers of mischief, and choose from among all these zanies the perpetrators of a surprisingly expansive flock of actual crimes.Fans will appreciate the helpful final chapter, which indicates exactly which malefactors have earned which legal punishment.
Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021
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by David Baldacci ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 11, 2022
Fascinating main characters and a clever plot add up to an exciting read.
A thriller with bloody murders and plenty of suspects and featuring an unlikely partnership between two FBI investigators.
FBI consultant Amos Decker has a lot on his mind. The huge fellow once played for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL until he received a catastrophic brain injury, leaving him with synesthesia; he sees death as electric blue. More pertinent to the plot, he also has hyperthymesia, or spontaneous and highly accurate recall. On the one hand, his memories can be horrible. He’d once come home to find his wife and daughter murdered, dead in pools of blood. Later, he listens helplessly on the telephone while his ex-partner shoots herself in the mouth. On the other hand, his memory helps him solve every case he's given. Now he's sent to Florida with a brand-new partner, Special Agent Frederica White, to investigate the murder of a federal judge. Both partners are pissed at their last-minute pairing, and they immediately see themselves as a bad fit. White is a diminutive Black single mother of two who has a double black belt in karate “because I hate getting my ass kicked.” (The author doesn't mention Decker's race, but since he's being contrasted with his new partner in every way, perhaps readers are expected to see him as White. Clarity would be nice.) Their case is strange: Judge Julia Cummins was stabbed 10 times and her face covered with a mask, while her bodyguard was shot to death. Decker and White puzzle over the “very contrarian crime scene” where two murders seem to have been committed by two different people in the same place. The plot gets complex, with suspects galore. But the interpersonal dynamic between Decker and White is just as interesting as the solution to the murders, which doesn't come easily. At first, they’d like to be done with each other and go their separate ways. But as they work together, their mutual respect rises and—alas—the tension between them fades almost completely. The pair will make a great series duo, especially if a bit of that initial tension between them returns. And Baldacci shouldn’t give Decker a pass on his tortured memories, because readers enjoy suffering heroes. It's not enough that his near-perfect recall helps him in his job.Fascinating main characters and a clever plot add up to an exciting read.
Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022
Page Count: 448
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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