As usual in Joanne’s world (Burying Ariel, 2000, etc.), the vicissitudes of the plot are less memorable than the...


A pitched battle over the redevelopment of a troubled area of town reminds Joanne Kilbourn that her beloved Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan, Canada, is prone to all the troubles of modern cities, including murder.

Wealthy Leland Hunter, a client of Joanne’s husband Zack Shreve, is bent on transforming the North Central sector of the city by means of The Village Project. Agitator Riel Delorme, who was a student of Joanne’s before he dropped out of university and she retired, is so determined to stop him that he’s enlisted the help of two local gangs, The Warriors and The Brigade. Members of both gangs who think Riel’s Che Guevara tactics aren’t effective enough have formed a splinter group, Red Rage, that aims to take a harder (read: more violent) line in opposing The Village Project. It’s a mixture bound to have combustible results, and fire soon strikes Joanne and Zack’s garage, blown to bits on a night they fortunately happen not to be home. As conflicts rage over the development, Joanne keeps discovering new wrinkles. Her daughter Mieka, a caterer who developed UpSlideDown, a playground that was an earlier casualty of the urban war, is in love with Riel Delorme. Leland’s already complicated life—in addition to battling the gangs, he’s about to wed his pregnant lover, barrister Margot Wright—is further troubled by repeated sightings of his unhinged ex-wife Louise, whose friend Sage Mackenzie, a cop-turned-lawyer, can barely keep her out of jail on stalking charges or worse. And Zack is preoccupied with the murder defense of Cronus, an antipathetic slumlord who insists on testifying that he didn’t murder his girlfriend, police officer Arden Raeburn, after their weekly round of rough sex.

As usual in Joanne’s world (Burying Ariel, 2000, etc.), the vicissitudes of the plot are less memorable than the celebrations of ongoing life: two weddings, a child birth, several parties and a great deal of civilized but enthusiastic connubial sex.

Pub Date: April 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7710-1689-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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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As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...


Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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