A twist in the final act can’t save this over-the-top revenge tale.


In a world where long-term memory is a thing of the past, investigating a murder becomes a daunting prospect indeed.

In Yap’s debut, set in 2015 England, a protein responsible for long-term memory is genetically inhibited for everyone when they're either 18 or 23, creating Monos and Duos, respectively. Everyone must keep a daily iDiary to consult regularly. Mark and Claire Evans have been married for 20 years, but they can’t say it’s a strong union. After all, homemaker Claire is a Mono, which means she can only remember what happened yesterday, and Mark, an author with political aspirations, is a Duo who can remember two days into the past. To most Duos, marrying a Mono is a quick way to become a social pariah, as Monos are largely considered to be less intelligent. When the body of stunning Sophia Ayling is discovered in the River Cam, Mark is questioned by the police because they find his name in her iDiary, setting off a disastrous chain of events. The narrative moves between past and present and back and forth among Mark, Claire, Sophia’s iDiary entries, and the detective investigating the murder, DCI Hans Richardson. Not one of these characters is appealing. Mark is a selfish jerk; Claire is self-demeaning to the point of farce; Sophia, who is revealed to be a romantic (and wronged) blast from Mark’s past, is cartoonish; and DCI Richardson’s inner monologue is plodding, giving him something of a Columbo vibe, but not in a good way. The central conceit, surely meant to be edgy, doesn’t add anything to a thoroughly unimaginative murder mystery, and if someone were up to no good, all they’d have to do is alter their diaries and no one would be the wiser, making the truth elusive and the possibility of justice remote.

A twist in the final act can’t save this over-the-top revenge tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-46525-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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.


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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