Kelly (The Burning Air, 2013, etc.) folds a loving portrait of rural Dorset and a well-made whodunit into a painstaking...

BROADCHURCH

Against all odds, Kelly’s novelization of the eponymous British TV series, now being remade for U.S. television as Gracepoint, works as both a classic puzzle and an unnerving portrait of a little English town wracked by a young boy’s murder. 

No one in Broadchurch can imagine why anyone would have wanted to kill Danny Latimer. No one can even imagine what the 11-year-old was doing out on his own in the middle of the night when he was strangled to death. His murder is a particular blow to DS Ellie Miller, whose son Tom was Danny’s best friend. Ellie’s just returned from a Florida vacation to find that the promotion she’d assumed would be hers has actually gone to DI Alec Hardy, an outsider whose last case, another child killing, ended with the presumed murderer going free—something he’s not exactly eager to advertise. What he is eager to do, it seems, is model a frigidly disengaged attitude and lecture Ellie about her need to do the same, even though she’s known everyone involved in the case forever. Clearly, the killer is someone she doesn’t know nearly as well as she thought. Suspicion falls in turn on Danny’s father, Mark, a plumber who can’t give a convincing alibi for the night his son was killed; phone engineer Steve Connolly, who hears voices that provide clues to the mystery; newsagent Jack Marshall, who employed Danny as a paper boy; young vicar Paul Coates; truculent Susan Wright, who’s got Danny’s missing skateboard hidden away; and Mark’s helper and would-be alibi Nige Carter. As journalists circle Hardy ready to expose his connection to his scandalous last case, Ellie reels under the sickening sense that each new suspicion is more devastating than the last.

Kelly (The Burning Air, 2013, etc.) folds a loving portrait of rural Dorset and a well-made whodunit into a painstaking account of the grief and unimaginable pain that follow in the wake of one child’s murder.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-05550-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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