Yet another police procedural on steroids, a case made even more bizarre by Oswald’s trademark hints of the supernatural;...


Several seemingly unrelated Edinburgh murders just need a little creative thinking to link them.

DI Tony McLean seems to get the odd and unusual cases (Dead Men’s Bones, 2016, etc.). When Dalgliesh, a tough-as-nails woman journalist he despises (her first name is never used), asks him to help find another reporter who’s gone missing, he reluctantly agrees to look for Ben Stevenson. Tony’s been putting off meeting the builders who want to repair the apartment house where he lived until he was almost killed in a fire. The father-and-son McClymont team propose plans for a cheap renovation that the independently wealthy Tony refuses to consider despite the large sum of money he’s being offered for a buyout. Soon he finds himself harassed along with his transgender medium friend, Madame Rose, who also owns a house the developers want to buy. Meanwhile, the upcoming retirement of Detective Superintendent Duguid has left the murder squad in the middle of a shake-up. Several equally untalented officers are hoping for promotion, but not Tony, whose outspokenness often gets him in trouble. The discovery of Ben Stevenson’s body, throat cut and blood drained, in Gilmerton Cove, a network of caves under the streets of Edinburgh, turns the case into a major investigation. With help from Dalgliesh, Tony learns that Ben was working on an odd conspiracy theory. Forensics finds nothing at the scene that can help. When a nurse and a doctor who work at the same hospital are killed, Tony is sure they're connected to Stevenson's murder; Duguid is not convinced the three deaths are related, but he finally lets Tony combine the investigations. The certainty among the organized crime squad that the McClymonts are drug runners tangles Tony's life even further. The truth, when Tony finally works it out, will be more unbelievable than he ever imagined.

Yet another police procedural on steroids, a case made even more bizarre by Oswald’s trademark hints of the supernatural; impossible to put down.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68331-023-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...


Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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