Just as Samuel grows Questions Answered, Copperman (who as Cohen writes nonfiction books about Asperger's) continues to grow...

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THE QUESTION OF THE UNFAMILIAR HUSBAND

A professional fact-finder finds himself stymied by a client who's married to someone she doesn’t know.

In the six months since he opened Questions Answered in a strip mall in Piscataway, New Jersey, Samuel Hoenig has tackled an odd assortment of queries, including Garden State Cryonics’ bizarre quest for body parts gone astray (The Question of the Missing Head, 2014). But Sheila McInerney brings him a question as odd as it is unwelcome: she asks, “Who is the man in my bed who calls himself my husband?” Sheila has reason to wonder. She went to a costume party hosted by a co-worker and met a man dressed as Zorro. Two glasses of wine later, she woke up next to Oliver Lewis, who claimed they were so smitten they had eloped to Darien, Connecticut, to tie the knot, producing a marriage certificate to back up his story. Samuel, whose Asperger’s syndrome makes thoughts of physical intimacy puzzling and slightly distasteful, nevertheless feels that as proprietor of a growing business, he can ill afford to turn away prospective clients. Still, he feels inadequate to tackle Sheila’s inquiry on his own, so he calls Janet Washburn, a former client who assisted with the Garden State case, to help him navigate a world of social nuance he cannot completely understand. Over her husband’s objections, she agrees. But when Ollie Lewis’ body turns up in the Questions Answered office and Sheila McInerney drops out of sight, it seems as if Ms. Washburn’s all-too-familiar husband may have the right idea about what’s a safe occupation for his wife.

Just as Samuel grows Questions Answered, Copperman (who as Cohen writes nonfiction books about Asperger's) continues to grow Samuel, making him just as quirky but more appealing than in his debut.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4350-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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