Casual readers be warned: Pattison's seventh Inspector Shan thriller is another hypnotic immersion in a fascinating culture.

MANDARIN GATE

A brutal killing in Tibet draws a veteran investigator out of the safety of his new bureaucratic job and into a complicated tangle of political interests and deadly alliances.

Shan Tao Yun's journey to an abandoned convent, one supposedly filled with ghosts, infects him with memories of his many encounters with death, as well as imaginative nightmares that blur the line with the flesh-and-blood present. Shan has recently secured a safe, boring position as an inspector of irrigation and needs to keep a low profile if he wants to hold onto it. At the convent are a litter of corpses, including that of his friend Jamyang, who figures prominently in his nightmares. He retreats to a mountain perch from which he watches police swarm the site. The curiosity of the veteran investigator (The Lord of Death, 2009, etc.) is acutely piqued. He locates his philosophical old friend Lokesh, an official in the Dalai Lama's government before the Chinese invasion, who has also appeared in Shan's nightmares as a sage. Shan finds Lokesh nursing a frail, elderly lama. This man, who somehow knows about the killings at the convent, suggests that Jamyang was protecting something. Once Shan finds a list of Tibetan towns in Jamyang's pocket, he is pulled irresistibly into another intricate puzzle. Shan's probe requires him to reconstruct Jamyang's life, encounter bizarre characters like Genghis (who lives up to his famous namesake), and with Lokesh as Watson to his Holmes, walk a politically sensitive path.

Casual readers be warned: Pattison's seventh Inspector Shan thriller is another hypnotic immersion in a fascinating culture.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-65604-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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