by Gerald Elias ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 2016
Readers who aren’t unduly put off by the hero, whose fictional ancestors include both Sherlock Holmes and Ebenezer Scrooge,...
Christmas 1992 brings blind violinist Daniel Jacobus (Death and Transfiguration, 2012, etc.) a mystery that creeps ever nearer his Berkshires retreat.
Even celebrants less Grinch-like than Jacobus aren’t eager to have their yuletide festivities disrupted, so it’s perfectly understandable that the crusty violinist puts off Amadeo Borlotti, a violin repairer in nearby Egremont Falls, when he pleads an urgent but unspecified reason to venture out in the snow to meet Jacobus. Instead, Jacobus asks Borlotti to come the following day and goes back to playing trios with his cellist friend, Nathaniel Williams, and his protégé, Yumi Shinagawa. Next day, predictably, is too late; on Christmas night, Borlotti’s house burns to the ground, and he vanishes. The blaze is as suspicious as the disappearance, since authorities combing the rubble find no sign of any stringed instruments in Borlotti's shop, indicating that they must have been removed from the scene before the fire. By the time Borlotti’s corpse makes an appearance in a floridly dramatic scene, it’s become clear that he’s been involved in creating fake documents authenticating Stradivariuses that aren’t—and maybe even crafting a few of the phony fiddles himself. The investigation will take Jacobus, who assembles jigsaw puzzles by touch alone, on a whirlwind trip to Italy, bring him up against some wholly unconvincing professional criminals, and give the mysterious arsonist a much more prominent role in his life before he’s finally able to move on.Readers who aren’t unduly put off by the hero, whose fictional ancestors include both Sherlock Holmes and Ebenezer Scrooge, will enjoy a most unseasonal fable of the little insurance fraud that grew and grew. Merry Christmas.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016
Page Count: 224
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online: June 13, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...
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
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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