Soft-spoken, smart and satisfying.

THE OXFORD MURDERS

An elegant, fashionable, award-winning novel mixes murder with modern mathematical theory.

A nameless, 22-year-old Argentinean mathematician plays Dr. Watson to mathematical genius Arthur Seldom’s Sherlock Holmes in contemporary Oxford, England. Martínez (Regarding Roderer, 1994, etc.), a mathematical scientist himself, takes an offbeat approach to the place and the killings, adding intellectual spin to his renderings of both. Each of the “imperceptible murders” that takes place involves an acquaintance of Seldom or else occurs in close proximity to him, and each is preceded by a message and a symbol taken from the Pythagorean doctrine. The unnamed narrator—whose landlady, Mrs Eagleton, is victim number one, her symbol a circle—helps Seldom investigate the mysteries, while moving through well known locations such as Blenheim Palace and the Radcliffe Hospital, which here take on foreign, vaguely surreal and sinister aspects. Female interest is supplied by a lusty, tennis-playing nurse and Mrs. Eagleton’s miserable but alluring granddaughter Beth, with Martínez smoothly melding the intrigue and sex with introductions to loftier intellectual concepts such as Fermat’s Last Theorem. A second death takes place in the hospital and the third, spectacularly, at an outdoor concert. Bizarrely, all three victims seem to have been living on borrowed time. But the pattern of violence changes, culminating in a macabre bus crash that kills ten Down Syndrome children, and seems to have been engineered by the bus’s driver, now dead himself, in order to generate lung transplant material for his dying daughter. Was he the serial killer, or is it possible there were two murderers and some nifty connective footwork supplied by a third party? The narrator is left to muse on what constitutes the perfect crime, and also to contemplate his own random influence on events in a story that fuses murder, numbers, beautiful minds, sects and old mysteries.

Soft-spoken, smart and satisfying.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2005

ISBN: 1-59692-150-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: MacAdam/Cage

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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?

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

ROSES ARE RED

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

Did you like this book?

more