DOUBLE DEXTER

Two sociopaths are a crowd, as Miami-Dade forensic tech Dexter Morgan (Dexter is Delicious, 2010, etc.) realizes when he’s crowded by a wannabe who seems bent on taking over his gig as the bloody scourge of Miami’s worst citizens.

Just as he’s cleaning up the considerable mess after executing Puffalump, né Steve Valentine, the pederast clown who’d killed at least three little boys before meeting his doom, Dexter realizes he’s been seen at work by someone driving a beat-up Honda. Once a series of unfortunate events allows the witness to connect a name to Dexter’s face, he announces his intentions via e-mail. There’s a new serial killer in town, smirks the unknown witness, and he intends to learn everything he can from Dexter and then toss his unwilling teacher aside. Of course, Dexter doesn’t take this threat to his star billing lightly. His attempts to track down the witness go south, though, when he stumbles over a victim butchered in much the way he would have done the job and hears police sirens in the distance. Dexter escapes this crime scene to return to his wife Rita, who’s obsessed with finding the perfect new house for their growing family—her daughter Astor, son Cody and newborn Lily Anne. But Dexter’s latest nemesis, remaining one step ahead of him, commits a copycat murder that reopens a case Dexter’s adoptive sister Deborah had just solved for Miami-Dade. This throws a deep professional shadow over both Debs and Dexter while the newbie plots his next move and Dexter wonders how he can kill his tormentor even though he’s being dogged by his old enemy Sgt. Doakes, and his hands are swollen by poison ivy. Lindsay, who remains less interested in mystery than in the archly virtuoso first-person narration of his appealingly monstrous Human Impersonator, provides another guilty pleasure. Really, really guilty.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-385-53237-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 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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