Although Carpenter and Kaminska may not be the finest detectives, they’re easy to fall in love with, and readers will likely...



A cold case has ties to a murder for hire and a possible terrorist attack in Wensley’s (Text: Murder, 2011, etc.) latest thriller featuring DI Carpenter and DS Kaminska.

The U.K. Special Branch Police have already arrested Ilse Chemnitz’s killer, but they’re still looking for Dragor, the Serbian gangster who ordered the hit. The National Criminal Intelligence Service sends Colour Sgt. Marco Richmond to investigate Dragor’s connection to a military site bombing in Kent, England, and he discovers a DNA match that links the Serbian to the body of a Jane Doe found dead several years earlier, thought to be Dragor’s daughter. In the course of the murder investigation, the police suspect that the British royal family may be in terrorists’ cross hairs. This novel, like the first in the series, has elements of a murder mystery—the killer’s identity isn’t revealed until the end—but doesn’t spend much time on the investigation itself. Carpenter and Kaminska work the murder case, but Xian, the forensics tech, contributes the most useful information: Her DNA testing reopens the cold case and ultimately solves it. But Carpenter’s and Kaminska’s scenes, even when they have little to do with the overall mystery, are indelible; a chase sequence after Kaminska recognizes a Polish fugitive, for example, is exhilarating. He also includes subtle hints of a developing romance. Still, the book’s shining moments are those that combine different characters’ story arcs: Carpenter and Dragor, for example, call a temporary truce so that the policeman can ask the gangster questions about his daughter. In another exciting scene, police try to protect the royal family during the 2012 London Olympics. Overall, the novel is a quick, easy read, and the author keeps the ending open for the final book in the planned trilogy.

Although Carpenter and Kaminska may not be the finest detectives, they’re easy to fall in love with, and readers will likely want more of their adventures.

Pub Date: March 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481785877

Page Count: 154

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2014

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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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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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