Robb does all too little with the promising notion of doubling the cops with the actresses who play them, or indeed with any...

READ REVIEW

CELEBRITY IN DEATH

A Hollywood party at which Lt. Eve Dallas and Det. Delia Peabody get to spend quality time with the actresses playing them in a new movie is interrupted by what turns out to be only the latest in a long string of murders.

Now that potty-mouthed journalist Nadine Furst has sold her book about still another of Eve’s innumerable triumphs (Treachery in Death, 2011, etc.) to Joel Steinburger’s Big Bang Productions, the cameras are rolling on Marlo Durn, playing Eve; K.T. Harris, playing Peabody; and Julian Cross, playing Eve’s husband Roarke, the world’s sexiest millionaire. But the onscreen mayhem is topped by the news that K.T. has stepped out of a dinner party bringing the lead actresses together with the two detectives they’re playing, gone upstairs for a smoke and ended up dead in a rooftop swimming pool. K.T. is soon unmasked as a conniving blackmailer who’ll be missed mainly by her bewildered parents back home. With so many potential victims of her craft—director Mason Roundtree, his wife Connie Burkette, publicist Valerie Xaviar, Marlo’s lover, actor Matthew Zank—literally in the same room, how can Eve and Peabody possibly spot a killer who’s already moved on by eliminating a potential witness? Only by getting a hunch to dig deeper into one suspect’s background and find a trail of homicide leading back from the future to the early 2020s. Their discovery leads to a long, long wrap-up—leaning on possible accomplices, inducing one of them to wear a wire, trapping the killer into another attempted murder, parading the array of evidence after a high-profile arrest—all of it eminently routine.

Robb does all too little with the promising notion of doubling the cops with the actresses who play them, or indeed with any other elements of this futuristic, but surprisingly retro, closed-circle game of Hollywood squares.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-15830-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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

Did you like this book?

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

THINGS IN JARS

Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more