An exhilarating, page-turning blend of mystery, detection, romance, and people-versus-the-elements.

DEATH ON TUCKERNUCK

A wedding, a hurricane, and a murder combine in a breathtaking mélange.

Little do Nantucket police officer Meredith Folger and her fiance, Peter Mason (Death on Nantucket, 2017, etc.), know that their last-minute wedding plans are soon to go awry. Since cold, distant new police chief Bob Pocock cuts Merry no slack, she’s working until the last minute. Dionis Mather and her father, Jack, have a family business taking care of the denizens of Tuckernuck, a small private island off the grid, who are completely dependent on the Mathers’ boats to ferry them and all their supplies from nearby Nantucket. When a hurricane is forecast, Dionis and Jack mobilize to help the few still left on the island in September board up their houses and leave for Nantucket before the storm strikes. The only flies in the ointment are entitled NFL quarterback Todd Benson and his supermodel wife, who have nothing to do with the rest of the islanders, most of whose houses have been handed down through generations. Although the Bensons are not at their recently built mansion, they’ve left two horses and their stable girl, Mandy, without any plans for their safety. Mandy turns up as the Mathers are evacuating the last people, demanding a seat on the boat and refusing to stay with the horses. As the Category 3 storm approaches, Dionis sees and reports a distress rocket off Tuckernuck to the Coast Guard. Jack suffers a heart attack, and she promises him she’ll return and help those horses. The Coast Guard sends a chopper to a grounded yacht, where they find two people badly wounded. The woman dies on the way to the hospital, and the man’s head wound renders him unable to answer questions, giving Merry a possible murder to solve. Dionis ends up marooned on Tuckernuck at the height of the storm, caring for both horses and a man with a bullet wound. Can Merry work out the relations among all these doings before her wedding day?

An exhilarating, page-turning blend of mystery, detection, romance, and people-versus-the-elements.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61695-993-7

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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