Move this one to the top of your list if you still pine for linear algebra. The unenlightened may want to wait and see...

THE THEORY OF DEATH

Detective Peter Decker welcomes his insufferable former colleague Tyler McAdams, shot at the end of Murder 101 (2014), back to the Greenbury, New York, police force with open arms and violent death.

McAdams, who’s supposed to be studying for his exams at Harvard Law School, says he wants to stay with Decker and his wife, Rina, for peace and quiet and a chance to hit the books without distractions. Distractions promptly arise when Kneed Loft College senior Eli Wolf is found shot to death, his clothes piled neatly next to him, in a snowy field. A car accident six years ago that killed the friend who was driving and broke his brother Jacob’s leg scrambled Eli’s brain. Born into a Mennonite family whose rapport with each other is laconic even when they’re most demonstrative, he’s been drifting further into the world of theoretical mathematics and away from everything else. Now that Decker must question Jacob, Eli’s closemouthed parents, and his even more socially challenged mentors and friends at Kneed Loft, McAdams is eager to get in on the action—if that’s what you want to call the brightly didactic passages explaining Fourier transforms and stochastic oscillators that take the place of Rina Decker’s customary disquisitions on Jewish rituals. Fueled by the discovery of some incomprehensible papers Eli hid in his dorm room, Decker and McAdams talk to the boy's sort-of friend Mallon Euler, who turns out to have quite a crush on McAdams; Dr. Theo Rosser, Eli’s megalomaniac adviser; and paranoid Dr. Katrina Belfort, who lacks the tenure that would presumably suck her last remaining humanity from her. The discovery of a second corpse sharpens the urgency of their inquiries but does nothing to focus them, until eventually one of their several theories of the case, no more or less interesting than the others, hits home.

Move this one to the top of your list if you still pine for linear algebra. The unenlightened may want to wait and see what’s on offer next term.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-227021-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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DEATH ON THE NILE

A HERCULE POIROT MYSTERY (HERCULE POIROT MYSTERIES)

One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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