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BLESSING OF THE LOST GIRLS

A labor of love triggered by a serial killer.

For reasons she doesn’t explain until her “After-Afterword,” Jance works her most popular detective, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady, into the latest installment of her Walker Family chronicles.

But it’s not a starring role. Joanna is the one whom Dan Pardee, a federal agent of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force, asks for help when the body of a young woman discovered outside Tucson three years ago is finally identified as that of Rosa Rios, who was followed out of a local bar and strangled shortly after she was expelled from high school. As the husband of Dr. Lanita Walker-Pardee, Dan is the pivotal figure who binds together the myriad parts of a convoluted tale that combines Indigenous family history and serial homicide. But it’s criminal-justice major Jenny Brady who realizes that the case her mother has described to her has unsettling parallels to the recent attack on Jenny’s rodeo competitor Deborah Russell, who was lucky enough to be rescued by the worthless boyfriend with whom she’d had a rendezvous. Deb hasn’t reported the incident because she was afraid that her Mormon family would be scandalized by both the boyfriend and the rendezvous, and she has no intention of reporting it now. So there’s no official record of the attack, and Jenny, then Dan, are the only ones who have access to the information that will ultimately unmask a killer revealed on page 1 as Charlie Milton, né Ronald J. Addison. Readers who find the manhunt lacking in surprise may prefer the updates on Lani and Dan’s complicated family, but it’s hard to imagine many readers loving the whole shebang.

A labor of love triggered by a serial killer.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9780063010109

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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CITY IN RUINS

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

The dramatic conclusion to the trilogy about two New England crime families begun in City on Fire (2022) and City of Dreams (2023).

Near the end of his journey, multimillionaire Danny Ryan watches a casino implode in a mushroom cloud of dust and muses about his life’s implosions: “The cancer that killed his wife, the depression that destroyed his love, the moral rot that took his soul.” Danny is from Providence, Rhode Island, and desperately tried to leave his criminal life behind him. But using a ton of ill-gotten gains, he invests heavily in Las Vegas properties. Congress is conducting an investigation into gambling that could destroy his casino business and even land him in jail. An FBI agent plans to take Danny down for major sins he’d like to repent for. Meanwhile, can he make peace with his enemies? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Even if the parties involved want to put the past behind them, the trouble is that they don’t trust each other. Is Vern Winegard setting Dan up? Is Dan setting Vern up? “Trust? Trust is children waiting for Santa Claus.” So what could have been a “Kumbaya,” nobody-wants-to-read-this story turns into a grisly bloodletting filled with language that would set Sister Mary Margaret’s wimple on fire—figuratively speaking, as she’s not in the book. But the Catholic reference is appropriate: Two of the many colorful characters of ill repute are known as the Altar Boys, serving “Last Communion” to their victims. On the law-abiding side and out of the line of fire is an ex-nun-turned-prosecutor nicknamed Attila the Nun, who’s determined to bring justice for a gory matricide. (Rhode Island really had such a person, by the way.) Finally, the prose is just fun: A friend warns Dan about Allie Licata: “In a world of sick fucks, even the sick fucks think Licata’s a sick fuck.” A couple of things to note: This not only ends the trilogy, but it also closes out the author’s career, as he has said he’ll write no more novels.

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780063079472

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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THREE-INCH TEETH

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

A bear is hunting prey in Wyoming’s Bighorns. And not just any bear.

It’s bad enough that Clay Hutmacher, who manages the Double Diamond Ranch, has lost his son, Clay Jr., to a vicious attack by a grizzly bear. What’s much worse is that Clay Jr.—who’d been about to pop the question to game warden Joe Pickett’s daughter, Sheridan—is only the first of the victims over an exceptionally broad geographical area. Marshal Marvin Bertignolli is clawed and bitten to death over in Hanna. Sgt. Ryan Winner is found bleeding out north of Rawlins. Former Twelve Sleep County prosecutor Dulcie Schalk, one of two survivors of an ambush, doesn’t survive her final encounter. The four experts chosen to kill the grizzly rope Joe into their expedition, but since their quarry keeps turning up far from the last sighting, the most meaningful confrontation the Predator Attack Team has is with a pair of Mama Bears, animal rights activists who demand due process for Tisiphone, as they’ve dubbed the presumed killer. Box, who’s far too canny to leave Tisiphone alone on center stage, follows Joe’s old antagonist Dallas Cates as the ex–rodeo star is released from prison and embarks on his revenge tour, which takes him to Lee Ogburn-Russell, an inventor whose life Dallas saved, and Axel Soledad, a correspondent who shares so many enemies with Dallas that he suggests they go after them together. Franchise fans will appreciate new details about Joe’s complicated family, the obligatory high-country landscapes, and yet another corrupt law enforcer.

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780593331347

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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