Overlong, and the constant references to Manilow songs will result in persistent, uninvited theme music for readers of a...

I RIGHT THE WRONGS

A case of dognapping distracts public defender Gordy Seegerman from rehearsals as he again readies himself and his band of fellow worshippers to meet the man of their dreams, Barry Manilow.

San Francisco Bay Area lawyer/musician Seegerman, the big-hearted hero of Misdemeanor Man (2004), still unmarried, still devoted to the artistry of Bette Midler’s onetime pianist, is again preparing his band for a possible meeting with his idol in Vegas. But there are complications. Maeve O’Connell, the band’s bad-tempered, middle-aged, Irish, lesbian vocalist is laid up in the last weeks of a surprise pregnancy, forcing Gordy to enlist the services of ex-girlfriend Silvie, the next best interpreter of Manilow ballads in Santa Rita. He’s still got a thing for her, but it’s unrequited and she’s married. And Seegerman still hasn’t gotten tested for the early onset Alzheimer’s that is erasing his father’s personality. The work intruding on the world of music is the misdemeanor mischief of Marcus Manners, superstar quarterback of the local public high school who has been charged with the theft of the canine mascot belonging to archrival Saint Illuminatus, enraging powerful alumni—including the crooked cop who found the missing dog behind Marcus’s apartment and the crabby judge who will try the case. And then the middle-aged heiress from whose estate the dog was stolen and who may have had a thing for Marcus (although Maeve swears she’s gay) takes three bullets, and Marcus, who was seen with her and who has blood on his sneakers, is the lead suspect in her murder. Gordy needs considerable help from the talented boys in his band to sort out clues that lead back to a big drug deal in the ’80s and involve Marcus’s foster father, a prominent black politician in a town that is ready to riot over the charges against their young sports hero.

Overlong, and the constant references to Manilow songs will result in persistent, uninvited theme music for readers of a certain age. Still, Seegerman remains likable.

Pub Date: May 9, 2005

ISBN: 1-58234-506-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

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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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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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