by Jake Hinkson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 1, 2019
The whole sad carnival comes crashing to an unforgettable halt just in time for the world’s most macabre Easter.
Just how far will an Arkansas preacher go to conceal his sin from his family and his congregation?
Everyone in Stock knows the Rev. Richard Weatherford, the pastor of the First Baptist Church. They know he’s a man of God, a devoted father to his five children, a staunch vote against allowing liquor into Van Buren County, and a reliable helper in distress. And all this is true. Even so, college dropout Gary Doane is convinced that everyone from Brother Weatherford’s wife, Penny, to his church deacons would see him a lot differently if they knew about his secret fling with Gary, and that’s why he wants $30,000 to go away quietly. Unable to put his hands on that kind of money, Weatherford passes the early hours of the day before Easter striking a devil’s bargain with Brian Harten: He’ll drop his opposition to the liquor store Harten’s hoped to open—he’ll even talk the other voters out of keeping the county dry—if only Harten will give him the money. Of course Harten, who quit his job at Tommy Weller’s bar on the strength of his dreams and started the day by watching his car get repossessed, is even more broke than Weatherford, so he hatches a deeply misbegotten plan to raise the cash. His plan will eventually suck in Weller; Sarabeth Simmons, the daughter of Weller’s lover, Carmen Fuller; and Penny Weatherford, who’s forced into an impossibly ugly position. As the principals take turns plotting their next moves, never thinking more than five minutes ahead, things predictably spiral out of control with all the horrifyingly matter-of-fact force of Scott Smith’s parable A Simple Plan as Hinkson (No Tomorrow, 2018, etc.) leads his all-too-human hero step by step into a monstrous pool of corruption.The whole sad carnival comes crashing to an unforgettable halt just in time for the world’s most macabre Easter.
Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by James Patterson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 5, 2003
As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...
Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.
According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.
Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003
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