An immensely likable sleuth headlines this lively crime tale.



In this third installment of a mystery series, an amateur Northern California detective searches for a missing person and stumbles on cyberespionage.

Trisha Carson leads a relatively quiet life working part time at the San Francisco Giants ballpark. But she’s solved two murders just in the last few years. So when Tyler Stockton, the adult grandson of her live-in landlord, Earl, seemingly vanishes, Trisha’s curiosity kicks into high gear. With a bit of snooping, she’s on to something much bigger than a missing person’s case. What that is specifically, she’s not exactly sure, but it involves a business heavily invested in cyberspying. There’s also a possible link to Earl, who flies and designs drones, which could put him, Trisha, and her dad, Robert, who lives with them as well, in peril. As Trisha digs for information on these cyberspies, she suspects a hacker has somehow bugged her house, made mysterious charges to her credit card, and nosed around on her computer and phone. As if this weren’t enough, Trisha seems to have a new admirer, Burk Dennison, a man who’s fine as “eye candy” but whose frequent run-ins with her eventually become contrived and stalker-ish. Carroll packs this installment with dynamic plot turns. While the enigmatic villains and their initially unclear objective complicate the story, everything makes sense by the end. Trisha’s intriguing personal life fuses well with her amateur investigation. For example, she only recently reconnected with Robert, who abandoned her and her younger sister, Lena, decades ago; this sparks brief but endearing scenes of Trisha and her father on the case together. Though her deductive skills, at least in this novel, rely too much on luck, Trisha proves far smarter and more prudent than the “danger junkie” she believes she is. The author’s pithy writing deftly blends technological jargon with relatable humor, such as the two sisters blaming each other for waking up Timmy, Lena’s 6-month-old son.

An immensely likable sleuth headlines this lively crime tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2021


Page Count: 272

Publisher: Indies United Publishing House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2021

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A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.


Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-641-29333-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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