On the plus side, every one of those interrogations offers another outlet for the heroine’s unique combination of street...

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CONNECTIONS IN DEATH

Lt. Eve Dallas’ 48th futuristic investigation takes her from a stratospherically upscale housewarming for her friend Nadine Furst, the journalist/screenwriter who won an Oscar for fictionalizing Eve’s own adventures, to the mean—really mean—streets of New York.

The good news for Rochelle Pickering, the child psychologist who’s one of many guests at the party, is that Eve’s wealthy husband, Roarke, who owns the building in which Nadine makes her splashy new home, has decided to hire her as head therapist at An Didean, the youth facility he’s funding and building. The bad news is that shortly after Rochelle shares her joy with her brother, Lyle, an ex-con and ex-gangbanger who’s turned his life around, he dies of a drug overdose in the apartment she’s opened to him. Since Lyle was in good physical shape with no indication that he’d recently been using, all signs point to murder clumsily disguised as an accident—presumably by Dinnie Duff, the former girlfriend who visited Lyle minutes before he died and let three male friends into the apartment. Unlike Lyle, Dinnie’s maintained her ties to the Bangers gang, and it’s among their membership that Eve (Leverage in Death, 2018, etc.) and her partner, Detective Peabody, go looking for suspects. They find a bumper crop: top Banger Marcus Jones Jr., aka Slice; his business partner, disbarred attorney Samuel Cohen; Cohen’s live-in, Bump & Bang dancer Eldena Vinn; Dinnie’s current lover, Kenneth "Bolt" Jorgenson; and virtually everyone else they talk to. And eventually they find Dinnie, who’s been raped and murdered in a much more emphatic way than Lyle. What they don’t find is a story any more coherent than a series of interrogations in which small fry flip on bigger fry, punctuated by the occasional shoot’em-up.

On the plus side, every one of those interrogations offers another outlet for the heroine’s unique combination of street smarts, moral outrage, and curled-lip scorn.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20157-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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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

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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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