Just the thing for readers who think their own work lives are high-stress drudgery.

TRIPLE CROSS

Dr. Alex Cross and his wife each pursue an equally monstrous serial predator.

In this corner, the D.C. Metro Police Department, where Cross still serves as a consultant, brings him in to throw light on the murders committed by the Family Man, who breaks into upscale homes and shoots everyone inside: grandparents, parents, children. In this corner, Bree Stone, who’s moved from D.C. Metro to the Bluestone Group, is tasked with keeping everything hush-hush while she investigates a series of explosive charges against fashion queen Frances Duchaine, whom multiple litigants have accused of saddling them with insurmountable debts for plastic surgery she and her close associate Paula Watkins insisted they'd need to make it as models, then forcing them into sexual slavery when they couldn’t repay them. As Bree worms her way into ever darker allegations about Duchaine, the Family Man continues his open season on picture-perfect households. Then editor Suzanne Liu, who’s just been dumped by star true-crime author Thomas Tull, comes to Cross with an incredible story: Tull, whose pitch for a new book on the Family Man earned an eight-figure contract in a closed auction, has actually been killing all those people himself. As usual, Patterson throws everything against the wall to see what sticks until the two cases, either of them complicated enough to sustain an entire volume, eventually collide in a way that’s surprising but ultimately unsatisfying, and his triple cross falls flat.

Just the thing for readers who think their own work lives are high-stress drudgery.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49918-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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A lack of clear and consistent narration means the story gets lost in this overstuffed mystery.

THE APPEAL

The members of a drama club come together in the face of tragedy, unaware they could be the victims of an ongoing fraud.

The Fairway Players are a close-knit drama group in a small town outside London, socially centered around the club's founders, the Haywards and their children. Plans for their upcoming production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons are upended when Martin Hayward, the patriarch of the family and leader of the drama group, announces that his 2-year-old granddaughter, Poppy, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. An experimental treatment from the U.S. has shown promise but requires the family to raise $350,000. The Fairway Players immediately begin fundraising, but as the money comes in, it seems that the Haywards might be using it for costs unassociated with Poppy's care. At the same time, the Haywards' doctor, Tish Bhatoa, is applying more and more pressure on the family, demanding high payments into her own personal account, which she claims to be using to pay for the medicine from the U.S. A new member of the Fairway Players with a personal history with Tish starts asking questions—about Poppy's condition, the Haywards' past, and Tish's intentions—that could threaten the entire operation, be it real or fraudulent. None of this, however, is told in narrative form. Instead, Hallett introduces the story via Femi and Charlotte, two law students who are reviewing all the case documentation ahead of an appeal in what became a murder case. Emails, newspaper clippings, text exchanges, and handwritten notes are used to lay out the communications between the people in the case, and some characters are only seen through mentions in the emails and texts of others. Femi and Charlotte act as guides for the reader, checking in and sorting through what has taken place every so often. The result is a confusing mix of overlapping half conversations and unconvincing synthesis that attempts to tie together too many threads rather than an engaging mystery.

A lack of clear and consistent narration means the story gets lost in this overstuffed mystery.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-9821-8745-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Murder! Occult! Obsession! The pieces are there, but the drama just…isn’t.

THE CLOISTERS

When a young academic is given the opportunity to research esoteric Renaissance art at The Cloisters, she gets caught up in the secrets of the present.

Gifted linguist Ann Stilwell is beyond relieved to escape Walla Walla, where she was born, raised, and where she graduated from college after her father’s tragic death. A summer fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York seems like a heaven-sent opportunity, but when she arrives, she is instead offered a job at The Cloisters, a smaller, more intimate museum. Patrick Roland, the curator, has a fascination with Renaissance occult, a small and specialized field, and Rachel Mondray, another recent college graduate, has been working with him to organize an “exhibition on divination,” including the tarot. Ann’s own niche research neatly complements this topic, but she begins to wonder whether Patrick and Rachel might have more invested in the study of the occult than just their academic brains. As Ann digs into research for the exhibit, she becomes closer and closer to the wealthy, beautiful Rachel. She also finds herself attracted to Leo, the irreverent gardener at The Cloisters who plays in a punk band and grows hallucinogenics to sell to bored housewives. Then one night, Ann, Patrick, and Rachel do a tarot reading, and tragedy ensues. Ann must decide whom to trust—and decide once and for all whether she believes in the power of fate or the burden of free will. Hays sets the stage well for what might have been some truly creepy scenes, but those looking for chills should seek elsewhere. In the end, the plot and characters feel too formulaic and familiar to really surprise. Readers might be better served by seeking out Arturo Pérez-Riverte’s The Club Dumas, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, or Tana French’s The Likeness.

Murder! Occult! Obsession! The pieces are there, but the drama just…isn’t.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-6680-0440-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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