Who says global warming has no effects on the little guy—or, in this case, gal? What begins as a simple hole in the ground...

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BONES BEHIND THE WHEEL

An innkeeper calls on some friendly ghosts to discover who buried a corpse in a car that a crew of workmen doing beach replenishment has dug up on her property.

Alison Kerby isn’t the only human who can see Paul Harrison and Maxie Malone, the two free-spirited spirits who haunt her Jersey Shore guesthouse. Her mom and her daughter can also see and communicate with the pair. But so far, none of the guests sent by Senior Plus Tours have had the power the Kerby ladies share, so Alison can include two daily “spook shows” among the amenities she offers her guests. Unfortunately, the shows are about the only amenities on offer, since contractors Tony and Vic Mandorisi have put her kitchen out of commission in the course of fixing a beam that sustained damage from a bullet hole in her last adventure (The Hostess with the Ghostess, 2018). Meanwhile, heavy equipment operator Bill Harrelson has dug up most of her beach. The state had sent him out to shore up the dune line eroded in Superstorm Sandy, but Bill, hearing a tale of some pirate treasure that just might be buried on Alison’s property, digs a wee hole to investigate. That little hole becomes a really big hole when Bill’s shovel hits metal that’s not part of a treasure chest but the roof of a vintage Lincoln Continental, complete with decomposed body in the front seat. From that point on, the detective work should really be left to Detective Lt. Anita McElone of the Harbor Haven police force, but gleeful Maxie and Paul couldn’t be more excited by the prospect of another hot case. They drag Alison into the chase with results as tumultuous as they are predictable.

Who says global warming has no effects on the little guy—or, in this case, gal? What begins as a simple hole in the ground ends up a three-ring circus, with a solution so convoluted only the most devoted fan can begin to appreciate.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68331-887-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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