Lamar (Rendezvous Eighteenth, 2003, etc.) writes of Paris with charm and authority, but his storytelling tends to waver.

GHOSTS OF SAINT-MICHEL

Hugger-muggery and some heavy breathing among the African American ex-pats in Paris's lively 18th Arrondissement.

It’s 16 days before 9/11, a fateful time as al-Qaeda's finger curls around the trigger. Of that, of course, Marva Dobbs is blissfully unaware, “blissfully” being the operative word—for the lady's in love. One of the most celebrated black women in France, she's famous for being beautiful, discreet and a culinary genius. She owns and operates Marva's Soul Food Kitchen (“ ‘It's just home cookin’, baby’ ”), long an obligatory stop on the tourist trail. But all of that is by the board, since at the age of 62, Marva has gone gaga over a 28-year-old Algerian cutie, the sous chef in her restaurant, about whom she thinks “incessantly, obsessively,” and with whom she has rip-roaring, “mind-shattering” sex. Unfortunately, it just might be that Hassan Mekachera is a terrorist. At any rate, he's disappeared, and in the aftermath of a vicious car-bombing, the police are searching for him. Worried sick, Marva goes searching for him, too, and wrecks her car. Enter daughter Naima, summoned by her distraught father from New York, where she's been working as an assistant director on a movie set. As it turns out, Marva has escaped serious injury, escaping as well from the hospital to go into hiding with the enigmatic though irresistible Hassan. So now Naima goes searching for Maman, as do the Parisian police and assorted clandestine types from both sides of the war on terror, bent on the usual conspiracies and gratuitous betrayals. In a climactic confrontation on the Place Saint-Michel, guns blaze, bodies fall and most of the hodge-podge gets sorted out.

Lamar (Rendezvous Eighteenth, 2003, etc.) writes of Paris with charm and authority, but his storytelling tends to waver.

Pub Date: June 5, 2006

ISBN: 0-312-28925-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more