Crosby (The Champagne Conspiracy, 2016, etc.) continues to explore the privileged world of the Virginia hunt country with a...

THE VINEYARD VICTIMS

A woman’s determination to keep a promise puts her in a killer’s cross hairs.

Ten years ago, Lucie Montgomery’s boyfriend, speeding down a country road, smashed his car into a pillar, leaving Lucie badly injured. Now engaged to winemaker Quinn Santori, Lucie runs a winery on her family’s Virginia estate. In a horrible moment of déjà vu, Lucie’s run off the road by her friend Jamison Vaughn, who crashes into the same pillar that almost took her life. As she struggles to get him out of the car, he says, “Tell Rick I need him to forgive me.” Her former lover Mick Dunne drags her away just as the car bursts into flames. Lucie thinks Jamie, who’d just lost an election for U.S. president, deliberately drove into the pillar, and she’s determined to find Rick—whoever he is—and pass on the message. The only other clue is a medical alert bracelet Lucie stuffed in her pocket after Jamie dropped it. Jamie’s wife, Elena, insists that Lucie let the family handle the press, which is hounding Lucie for more details. Depressed after losing the election and burdened by huge debts, it seems plausible enough that Jamie was suicidal, but the family is determined to get an accident verdict. In order to shut Lucie up, they give her expensive tickets for a dinner entitling her to a taste of a rare, old, locally produced wine. Meanwhile, Jamie’s daughter Sasha, whom Lucie’s brother is dating, suggests she go see her mother, Vanessa Pensiero, Jamie's ex-wife, who may know about Rick and the bracelet. The tale she tells goes back to college days when Vanessa, Jamie, Mick, Elena, and a professor were all briefly involved in the murder investigation of one of their friends. Although Taurique Youngblood was convicted and is still on death row, he may be innocent, as Lucie, against her friends' wishes, resolves to prove.

Crosby (The Champagne Conspiracy, 2016, etc.) continues to explore the privileged world of the Virginia hunt country with a fine mystery, solid characterization, and a shocking finale.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-07662-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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