Cross’ fifth forensic entry has all the elements of a winning puzzler: a sympathetic heroine, a complicated case, and a...

READ REVIEW

COLD, COLD HEART

Forensic psychologist professor Kate Hanson (Something Evil Comes, 2017, etc.) risks her career to solve a cold case.

When a court of appeals rules that David Lockman’s conviction for the murder of Della Harrington was based on faulty evidence, the 10-year-old case lands in the lap of the West Midlands Police’s Unsolved Crime Unit. The unit's DS Bernard Watts and Lt. Joseph Corrigan, an American on special assignment from the Boston Police Department, agree that there was little reason to connect the popular novelist with Harrington, the quiet supervisor of a local call center, whose main leisure occupation was singing in amateur opera productions. They quickly identify three persons of interest with much closer ties to the victim: scruffy Archie Fenton, the maintenance man at Harrington’s apartment complex, who has a serious interest in pornography; sleazy rental agent Leonard Dobbs, who has an unhealthy attraction to young tenants; and straight-laced Steffan Coultard, a fellow opera buff who showed considerable interest in the victim. But Kate, a university professor who consults with UCU, begins to wonder whether the team’s theory that Della’s murder was born out of rage, perhaps joined with sexual frustration, may be wrong. In pushing the investigation further, she steps outside the limits prescribed by Chief Superintendent Maurice Gander. Now Kate’s job with UCU is on the line, and with it, perhaps her university career. She has to solve the case fast, and she has to get it right before the unsolved mystery produces unstopped misery for Kate and her family.

Cross’ fifth forensic entry has all the elements of a winning puzzler: a sympathetic heroine, a complicated case, and a crisis to lend a sense of urgency that justice be served.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8822-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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?

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more