An overachieving New York cop meets her match in the monstrous pharmaceutical executive whose taste for seriously offbeat sex has left a prostitute dead in the hotel room he shared with his wife. From the beginning, Lewis (House Rules, 1994), working inside Ingrid Santerre’s dazzled brain, emphasizes how nightmarishly normal the death scene seems to her. There’s the clothing and makeup to readjust, the room to clean, the oversized suitcase to purchase (that’s her husband Gabriel’s job), the corpse to bathe and untie before packing it up. But Ingrid, programmed to obey her masterful husband, slips a cog and calls the police, and when the couple is prevented from checking out with their hideous baggage, Gabriel, calm as the villainous husband in Dial M for Murder, smoothly switches gears and offers to testify against his wife in exchange for immunity. He’s got both the forceful personality and the political clout to cut a great deal for himself; and when Caroline Reese, the detective assigned to grill Ingrid, tries to get her to protect herself by fighting back, she finds that Gabriel’s been planting evidence against this awkward eventuality for a long time, and that addled Ingrid’s in no shape to roll over on anybody. Reese’s only hope is Lynn Carver, a prostitute who was lucky enough to survive her encounter with the Santerres. But Carver, a veteran of a heroin habit and taste tests of a dozen other designer drugs Gabriel fed her, reveals through a series of conversations as elliptical as any by Henry James—though a lot more sordid—that she isn’t exactly anxious to get back into the ring with Santerre, and when she does, it’s on his terms, not hers or Reese’s. Bad news for Reese, who’s already carrying the obligatory load of guilt that will keep her until it’s almost too late from seeing just how things stand between the Santerres. Gabriel is a little too obviously a double-breasted bogeyman to carry much conviction. But when Lewis stays close to Ingrid, her matter-of-fact dissociation is horrifyingly real.

Pub Date: May 18, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-48747-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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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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After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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