The first installment in García Sáenz’s White City Trilogy is a work of impressive scope and depth, compellingly written.

THE SILENCE OF THE WHITE CITY

After a long hiatus, has a notorious serial killer returned to terrorize a city in northern Spain?

On the eve of Día de Santiago in Vitoria, Inspector Unai "Kraken" López de Ayala is summoned to a bizarre murder scene. A young couple has been found in the crypt of an old cathedral, murdered and artfully arranged with flowers near their heads and feet. Estíbaliz Ruiz de Gauna, Kraken’s colleague in the Criminal Investigation Unit, is shaken by the similarities to the crimes of a notorious serial killer who terrorized Vitoria 20 years earlier. Famed archaeologist Tasio Ortiz de Zárate is serving a lengthy prison sentence for those crimes. Kraken, who urges caution in linking the new case to the earlier serial crimes, is surprised to find that his new superintendent, Alba Díaz de Salvatierra, is the woman he just flirted with on the street. Tension rises with the discovery of more victims, similarly arranged. The investigative path does indeed lead to Tasio, who has become a successful screenwriter behind bars and fashions himself a criminologist and has reached out to Kraken, offering his expertise. Unnervingly, Tasio continues to shadow Kraken’s investigation and send him messages about the crimes. Flashbacks take the reader to 1969, when an alarmingly composed man named Álvaro Urbina is grimly determined to kill one Javier Ortiz de Zárate, whose relationship to Tasio is incrementally revealed. As Kraken tries to ferret out the killer, flashbacks move the complex backstory forward and into clearer focus.

The first installment in García Sáenz’s White City Trilogy is a work of impressive scope and depth, compellingly written.

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9859-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

22 SECONDS

Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series.

Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable.

Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49937-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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