Leon says Venetians are "accustomed to swimming in the swirling froth of information and misinformation that flowed through...

UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN

What does a father owe his son—and what do sons owe their fathers? Venice's most thoughtful detective, Commissario Guido Brunetti, has occasion to ponder these questions in several forms during his latest outing.

Surprisingly, Brunetti's own son, Raffi, doesn't play a large role, though we're treated to the usual Brunetti family conversations over delicious home-cooked lunches. The story begins with Brunetti's father-in-law, Conte Falier, asking him to look into something: There's gossip going around that the Conte's best friend, retired art dealer Gonzalo Rodríguez de Tejada, is planning to adopt his lover, Attilio Circetti, a much younger man, since that would be the only way Italy's inheritance laws would allow him to pass his entire estate to Attilio when he dies. The Conte is much too discreet to say it in so many words, but he wants to make sure his friend isn't being scammed. Brunetti doesn't want to get involved, but he finds himself moved when his father-in-law regretfully says, "I've just asked someone I love to spy on someone else I love." You can almost hear the song "Do You Love Me?" from Fiddler on the Roof playing in the background as Brunetti ponders the sentiment he's never heard from the Conte before. How can he say no after that? A few days later, another request: Brunetti's boss, Vice-Questore Patta, has a story about how his wife was insulted by an 8-year-old boy who lives in their building. He wants Brunetti to find out if there's "something wrong with the boy," and if not, to look into the parents' backgrounds. If the boy does have "real problems," he says, he doesn't "want to cause them more trouble." Could Patta be more sensitive than he always seemed? Eventually, of course, there are deaths—one natural, one not—but as usual the mystery takes a back seat to Leon's (The Temptation of Forgiveness, 2018, etc.) beautiful writing and the pleasure of spending time with Brunetti and company.

Leon says Venetians are "accustomed to swimming in the swirling froth of information and misinformation that flowed through so much of daily life," and readers can trust her to guide them safely to dry land.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2911-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

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LONG RANGE

Once again, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets mixed up in a killing whose principal suspect is his old friend Nate Romanowski, whose attempts to live off the grid keep breaking down in a series of felony charges.

If Judge Hewitt hadn’t bent over to pick up a spoon that had fallen from his dinner table, the sniper set up nearly a mile from his house in the gated community of the Eagle Mountain Club would have ended his life. As it was, the victim was Sue Hewitt, leaving the judge alive and free to rail and threaten anyone he suspected of the shooting. Incoming Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Brendan Kapelow’s interest in using the case to promote his political ambitions and the judge’s inability to see further than his nose make them the perfect targets for a frame-up of Nate, who just wants to be left alone in the middle of nowhere to train his falcons and help his bride, Liv Brannon, raise their baby, Kestrel. Nor are the sniper, the sheriff, and the judge Nate’s only enemies. Orlando Panfile has been sent to Wyoming by the Sinaloan drug cartel to avenge the deaths of the four assassins whose careers Nate and Joe ended last time out (Wolf Pack, 2019). So it’s up to Joe, with some timely data from his librarian wife, Marybeth, to hire a lawyer for Nate, make sure he doesn’t bust out of jail before his trial, identify the real sniper, who continues to take an active role in the proceedings, and somehow protect him from a killer who regards Nate’s arrest as an unwelcome complication. That’s quite a tall order for someone who can’t shoot straight, who keeps wrecking his state-issued vehicles, and whose appalling mother-in-law, Missy Vankeuren Hand, has returned from her latest European jaunt to suck up all the oxygen in Twelve Sleep County to hustle some illegal drugs for her cancer-stricken sixth husband. But fans of this outstanding series will know better than to place their money against Joe.

One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53823-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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