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A HEART FULL OF HEADSTONES

Two years after his checkered hero’s last outing, Rankin makes you feel the wait was worth every day, whatever comes next.

Criminal Investigation Department pensioner John Rebus is lured from forced retirement by the world’s most unlikely client.

Wheelchair-bound Morris Gerald Cafferty, known by every criminal in Edinburgh as Big Ger, feels uncharacteristically guilty over the pressure he put on Jack Oram, who managed the Potter’s Bar for Cafferty and helped himself liberally to the till before vanishing four years ago. Now that he’s heard rumors Oram’s back in town, he’d like his old nemesis to track the embezzler down so that Cafferty could have a word with him. Initially incredulous, Rebus agrees to poke around. Meanwhile, Rebus’ old mate DI Siobhan Clarke is looking for another missing person—Cheryl Haggard, who has enough scars to present convincing evidence against her husband, Francis, a uniformed cop accused of domestic violence. Clarke’s old frenemy DI Malcolm Fox, a hotshot who’s vaulted into the Specialist Crime Division, wants her investigation shut down before Francis Haggard can retaliate by implicating half his fellow officers on the Tynecastle force. When Francis takes the dilemma out of Clarke’s hands by going AWOL and turning up conveniently stabbed to death, everything’s resolved—except for all those accusations about the Tynecastle constabulary, and the fate of the dead-or-alive Jack Oram, and what looks increasingly like a revolving door between Edinburgh’s criminal establishment and Edinburgh’s finest. Rebus and Clarke soon establish connections between his case and hers, but that unsurprising news is only the beginning of a series of detonations, figurative and literal, that will ultimately land Rebus, as a teasing prologue shows, standing in the dock himself.

Two years after his checkered hero’s last outing, Rankin makes you feel the wait was worth every day, whatever comes next.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-47363-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THEN SHE WAS GONE

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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