An expert juggling act that ends with not one but two intercut trials. More, please.

NOTHING VENTURED

His Clifton Chronicles (This Was a Man, 2017, etc.) complete, the indefatigable Archer launches a new series that follows a well-born police officer from his first assignment to (spoiler alert) his appointment as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police some volumes down the road.

William Warwick may have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he’s done everything he can to declare his independence from his father, Sir Julian Warwick QC. When William, fresh out of King’s College with a degree in art history, announces his intention to enroll in Hendon Police College, his father realizes that he’ll have to count on William’s older sister, Grace, to carry on the family’s tradition in Her Majesty’s courts. Instead, guileless William patrols the streets of Lambeth until a chance remark lands him on DCI Bruce Lamont’s Art and Antiques unit under the watchful eye of Cmdr. Jack Hawksby. No fewer than four cases await his attention: the forger who signs first editions with the names of their famous authors; a series of even more accomplished forgeries of old masters paintings; a well-organized series of thefts of artworks by a gang whose leader prefers selling them back to the companies who’ve insured them and often don’t even report the thefts to the police; and a mysterious series of purchases of century-old silver by one Kevin Carter. His investigations take William across the path, and then into the bed, of Beth Rainsford, a research assistant at the Fitzmolean gallery, still reeling seven years after a priceless Rembrandt was stolen from its collection, most likely by landowner and self-styled farmer Miles Faulkner. As if to prevent William from getting even a moment’s sleep in between rounds of detection and decorous coupling, Beth unwillingly drags William into a fifth case, a 2-year-old murder whose verdict she has every reason to doubt. One of these cases will bring William up against Grace, whose withering cross-examination of him on the witness stand is a special highlight.

An expert juggling act that ends with not one but two intercut trials. More, please.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20076-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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