As usual, Kellerman (Killing Season, 2017, etc.) is more interested in the big scenes than in the cartilage that binds them...

WALKING SHADOWS

An unwelcome discovery on the grounds of an empty house brings Detective Peter Decker, who retired from the LAPD, to the allegedly quiet town of Greenbury, New York, up against a criminal plot that stretches back 20 years.

The thrill-seeking kids who smashed seven mailboxes on Canterbury Lane admit under questioning that they found the body of Brady Neil in the yard of an absent vacationer before Decker did but insist they didn’t kill him even though he also seems to have been attacked with a baseball bat. Since Decker’s not about to credit the punks with either the animus or the enterprise to have clubbed Brady to death, he has to look elsewhere. And there are so many places to look that Decker’s soon ruefully observing, “Sometimes crimes have too few pieces to solve. I have too many.” Brady’s father, Brandon Gratz, has been in prison for 20 years for robbing and killing jewelers Lydia and Glen Levine. New evidence suggests that Brandon, though clearly a lowlife, may have been innocent and that at least some of the cops in neighboring Hamilton may have known it. As he digs deeper for evidence, Decker has to walk a narrow line between antagonizing the current Hamilton police chief, Victor Baccus, whose department has access to information Decker needs, and serving as his lackey by putting his daughter, Officer Lenora Baccus, on the case. Fortunately, Lennie turns out to be an excellent detective. Unfortunately, as soon as she starts to get results, her father abruptly pulls her off. Decker continues working anyway. So does Lennie, setting up a charged relationship that’s the headline story here.

As usual, Kellerman (Killing Season, 2017, etc.) is more interested in the big scenes than in the cartilage that binds them together. The result is a methodical procedural whose method is to look everywhere, ask everything, and deal with the inevitable disappointment when the pieces just refuse to come together.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-242498-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

more