Dreary but worth reading for its insight into its sad, flawed, and sometimes-repellent characters.



A waitress’s disappearance pits a dogged detective against a man trapped by his own falsehoods.

Manfred Baumann is an unusually regular regular at the Restaurant de la Cloche in Saint-Louis, a nondescript town at the far edge of Alsace. He always eats at the same table, drinks a carafe of wine one glass at a time even though he ends up paying twice as much, and has a secret crush on Adèle Bedeau, the sullen young waitress. Years ago, Manfred’s grandfather bought the restaurant for his parents, but it slipped through their hands, and Manfred remains an awkward patron on the fringe of life. By day he’s a bank manager; once a week he joins in a poker game at the restaurant; and he has a regular appointment at a brothel in a ritual that never changes. But Adèle interests him, and one night he hides in some bushes to watch her meet her boyfriend and ride off with him on a motor scooter. When she doesn’t show up for work the next day, Manfred is so embarrassed about spying on her that he lies to Inspector Georges Gorski—then continues lying, even about things like having changed his normal lunch order the day Adèle disappeared. Despite his aversion to hunches, Gorski has a strong intuition that Manfred is covering up something. Gorski often recalls, and even revisits, the scene of an old murder, a case that the once-junior detective hoped would advance him into a better position in a bigger city. Instead, he’s still stuck in a provincial town and a loveless marriage, but his dedication to his work drives him to push Manfred harder. Gorski’s persistence only increases Manfred’s innate paranoia, and a door to the past leads to unintended consequences for both the hunter and the hunted. Burnet (His Bloody Project, 2016) sets up the book as an old French mystery that he’s newly translated, attaching a “translator’s afterword” to the back, but the metafictional elements add little to the novel.

Dreary but worth reading for its insight into its sad, flawed, and sometimes-repellent characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2309-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller


The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet