A bitter, sad and tender salute to a place equally impossible to love or leave. Like George Pelecanos, Izzo connects to...

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CHOURMO

Like the eponymous slaves who powered Roman galleys, the neighbors who pull together hoping against hope for escape fuel the second installment of Izzo’s Marseilles trilogy.

Fabio Montale has resigned from a police force even more violent and morally compromised than he is (Total Chaos, 2005). But you don’t resign from violence itself, and when his beloved cousin Gélou’s son Guitou disappears, Fabio fears the worst. And with reason: The boy, whose first romantic tryst was unwisely set in a borrowed apartment down the hall from Algerian historian Hocine Draoui, is gunned down after he stuck his head out the door in response to Hocine’s screaming. Which of the dozens of possible candidates—neighborhood kids who’ve graduated from holdups to homicide, Islamic fundamentalists who didn’t approve of Guitou’s dating Naïma Hamoudi, terrorists who long ago threatened Hocine with death—is responsible? The question is bleak and the answer even bleaker, but along the way, Izzo provides another guided tour of the underbelly of Marseilles (so extensive that it seems to swallow the whole city) that’s bracing in its wit and velocity, and this time, with a surprising amount of sententious sentimentality as well: “The world was like us now. No destination, no future.”

A bitter, sad and tender salute to a place equally impossible to love or leave. Like George Pelecanos, Izzo connects to individual lives large-scale social, economic and political forces most often encountered in op-ed columns.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-933372-17-6

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Europa Editions

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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Inside this bloated novel is a lean thriller starring a strong and damaged protagonist who's as compelling as Lisbeth...

THE THIRD TO DIE

In Brennan’s (Nothing To Hide, 2019, etc.) new series launch, a hard-edged female LAPD undercover cop and an ambitious FBI special agent race to catch a serial killer before he strikes again.

On paid administrative leave since an incident with a suspect went wrong, a restless Detective Kara Quinn is on an early morning run in her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, when she discovers the flayed corpse of a young nurse. In D.C., FBI Special Agent in Charge Mathias Costa is staffing the new Mobile Response Team, designed to cover rural areas underserved by law enforcement, when his boss assigns Matt and analyst Ryder Kim to Liberty Lake. The notorious Triple Killer, who murders three random victims, three days apart, every three years, has returned. With only six days to identify and catch the culprit, and only three days until he kills again, the team is “on a very tight clock.” What should be on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense turns into a slog marred by pedestrian prose (“she heard nothing except birds chirping…”), a convoluted plot slowed down by a focus on dull bureaucratic infighting, and flat character development. The sole exception is the vividly drawn Kara. Smart, angry, defensive, complicated, she fascinates both the reader and Matt ("Kara Quinn was different—and he couldn’t put his finger on why”).

Inside this bloated novel is a lean thriller starring a strong and damaged protagonist who's as compelling as Lisbeth Salander.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7783-0944-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Sluggish plot hemmed in by too much backstory and going-through-the-motions prose. Not Brown’s best.

WHITE HOT

Lukewarm thriller from bestselling Brown (Hello, Darkness, 2003, etc.).

Sayre Hoyle doesn’t believe her brother Danny committed suicide, and she’s returned home to prove it—but it seems nothing ever changes in Destiny, Louisiana. The small town looks the same as ever, and the same good old boys are sitting in the same vinyl booths at the same diner, conniving and backstabbing and telling lies. Too bad one of them just happens to be Sayre’s daddy, Huff Hoyle. A self-made rich man in a poor parish, he owns a smoke-belching iron foundry, a hellish place that at least provides employment for the beaten-down men of Destiny. If industrial accidents do happen in one of ’em now and then, well, that’s God’s will. Tough-talking Huff don’t want the government OSHA boys anywhere near his foundry, and that goes double for union organizers and other un-American busybodies. Sayre’s heard it all before—and still doesn’t trust either him or her creepy older brother, Chris, who took so much pleasure in tormenting her when they were young. And there’s Huff’s new right-hand man, lawyer Beck Merchant, to contend with. What exactly does Beck stand to gain by his involvement with Huff and cronies? If only he weren’t so good-looking and sexy. . . . Back to the story: Did Slap Watkins, jug-eared, degenerate scion of inbred bayou-dwellers, kill gentleman Danny in a fit of rage when Danny refused to hire Slap’s fellow parolees? Nah. Slap doesn’t have the brains or coordination to kill a June bug. Back to the subplot: Will the tyrannical Huff resort to violence when his ironworkers defy him and go out on strike? And back to the reason Sayre hates Huff: He forced her to have an abortion, performed by an incompetent doctor who tied her, screaming, to the table in his back room. And now for the reason Beck hates Huff . . . .

Sluggish plot hemmed in by too much backstory and going-through-the-motions prose. Not Brown’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2004

ISBN: 0-7432-4553-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

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