Middling for a series (Scuffletown, 2019, etc.) whose most distinctive features are its sharp eye for the mixed-race hero’s...

EVERGREEN

Richmond crime reporter Willie Black accepts a commission to clean up his unknown father’s grave and ends by cleaning up a whole lot more.

Willie’s never known much about Artie Lee, like where he’s buried or when and how he died. So when his cousin Philomena Slade, brought to a hospital she’s clearly not going to leave, says she wants to talk to Willie about his father, he has decidedly mixed emotions. Of course he’s going to do whatever he’s asked by his cousin, one of the few truly decent people in his family tree. But clearing Artie’s plot at Evergreen Cemetery turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg, for Willie can’t rest until he finds out what put his father there in the first place. A series of conversations with the surviving members of the Triple-A’s—Artie’s ancient friends Arthur Meeks and Arkie Bright—reveals mainly that they really don’t want to talk about the one-car encounter with a tree that killed Artie back in 1961, when his son was just learning to walk, and his dying newspaper’s files add precious few details. Willie’s big discovery concerns the aftermath of a Ku Klux Klan rally the year before, when a car bombing killed married police officer Phillip Raynor and his companion, 22-year-old Julia Windham, whom friends said he’d offered shelter from a thunderstorm that the weather pages from that date don’t mention. Unearthing the connection between their murders and Artie’s death six months later would be a challenge under ideal conditions, and Willie’s conditions—working 57 years later under the watchful eye of Benson Stine, yet another know-nothing representative of the conglomerate owner MediaWorld, who loads him with new responsibilities and forbids him to spend any time working on his own concerns during the paper’s time, which is all the time—are anything but ideal.

Middling for a series (Scuffletown, 2019, etc.) whose most distinctive features are its sharp eye for the mixed-race hero’s heavy burdens, including, but not limited to, the decline and fall of print journalism.

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57962-573-3

Page Count: 254

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

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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