Not the best Deaver to offer friends you are hoping to get as firmly hooked as you are.

THE GOODBYE MAN

Colter Shaw, the freelance bounty hunter who debuted in The Never Game (2019), infiltrates a cult masquerading as a grief support group.

Despite the usual hard-nosed competition from his rival, Dalton Crowe, Shaw has no trouble locating suspected neo-Nazis Adam Harper and Erick Young, sought for burning a cross on the grounds of a church, and turning them over to the police. That’s when everything goes sideways, for the law in this case is so lawless that Adam would rather kill himself than be arrested, and Erick narrowly escapes with his life. Troubled enough to look into the fugitives’ histories, Shaw is led to the Osiris Foundation, a for-profit enclave in the mountains of Washington, which had clearly changed Adam’s life. Turning the hefty reward the Western Washington Ecumenical Council had offered for their apprehension over to Erick’s parents, Shaw goes underground as Carter Skye, enrolling in the Process™ developed by Osiris founder and director Master Eli, ne David Ellis. He quickly finds himself mired in an isolated cult in which paramilitary bodyguards support a leader who has every flaw you’d expect from his role. The thrills that follow are authentic, but the attempt to weave this plot together with Shaw’s continuing quest for the truth about his survivalist father’s last months is surprisingly awkward, and the use of four separate scenes in which characters you thought were dead spring back to life suggests that the boundlessly inventive Deaver may be running low on new tricks.

Not the best Deaver to offer friends you are hoping to get as firmly hooked as you are.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53597-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

22 SECONDS

Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series.

Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable.

Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49937-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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An engaging thriller that, despite some flaws, contains storytelling that pulls readers compulsively onward.

THE ISLAND

An American family’s trip to see koalas and Australian wildlife becomes a life-and-death situation after they kill an innocent woman in a car crash and her family seeks revenge.

Tom, 44; his second wife, Heather, 24; and his kids, Olivia, 14, and Owen, 12, are in Australia, piggybacking a family vacation onto a business trip. After a difficult year that saw the death of Tom’s first wife and his marriage to Heather—whom the kids dislike—a group trip seems like a way to bring them all together. Renting a car to drive to the coast in search of interesting animals seems like a fun excursion. But while stopping at a roadside stand for food, the family gets to talking with some local people, and they end up on a tiny ferry to a remote private island in search of the wildlife they haven’t yet seen. Once on the island, one thing leads to another, and Tom, driving too fast, hits a woman on a bike, killing her instantly. Over several generations, the family that lives on the island has become a law unto itself, and after realizing that the woman is dead, they seek retribution—whether it will be via death, rape, or cash is to be decided by Ma, the head of the family, and Danny, the husband of the woman who's been killed. Some elements of the survival story feel more like convenient plot points than believable developments, and the writing is occasionally overwrought as McKinty seeks to make weighty statements about life, death, and spiritual links to the natural world, but on the whole, McKinty has written an exciting thriller that follows Heather and the others as they seek to run, hide, and survive the elements until the police—whom they have no way of contacting—can arrive.

An engaging thriller that, despite some flaws, contains storytelling that pulls readers compulsively onward.

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-53128-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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