Veterinarian Brady (Chained, 2017, etc.) imbues this page-turner with authentic details about a vet and the critters she...

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PENNED

A sleuthing veterinarian plays cat and mouse with a serial killer.

Introduced to elderly Gloria LaGuardia at the Oak Falls, New York, Halloween party, Dr. Kate Turner finds her both confused and afraid of someone evil she’s just seen. So when police officer and law student Luke Gianetti, her friend, tells Kate that Gloria’s been strangled in an apparent burglary, she’s suspicious that there may be more to the story. Kate has some romantic feelings for Luke, but he’s still entangled with his high school girlfriend, and she’s dating her college boyfriend, Jeremy, though their long-distance relationship is challenging. At Gloria’s funeral, Kate meets Tucker Weinstein, who’s writing a book about a fugitive killer named Carl Wolf, who was living across the street from Gloria when he murdered his wife and children 21 years ago. Interviews Tucker gives to promote his book, in which he mentions Kate, make them both targets of the killer, who may now be living nearby. When Tucker is badly beaten near his Brooklyn home, the police think it’s a hate crime because Tucker is gay. But Kate suspects the Big Bad Wolf. As she goes about her business treating everything from randy goats to an intelligent cockatoo, her connection to dogs involved in Schutzhund training gives her a new lead. Wolf had a Schutzhund-trained German shepherd that he loved enough to leave alive when he fled. A talk with the dog’s retired veterinarian, who remembers Wolf and Brownie well and was surprised the FBI never interviewed him, gives her the idea to look into people in the area interested in that special training. She wonders if she’s getting paranoid when she feels that she’s being followed. Learning too much for her own good, Kate works to unmask the killer before he makes her his next target.

Veterinarian Brady (Chained, 2017, etc.) imbues this page-turner with authentic details about a vet and the critters she treats.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4642-1109-6

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

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THE BITTERROOTS

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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