An interesting conceit—occasionally bogged down by nonspecifically brooding characters—ramps up to an anticlimax that will...


A detective and a killer tell their stories in alternating chapters, each chasing the other as the killer enacts her revenge on the men who have done her wrong.

The murder of architect Michael J. Gallagher seems to come out of nowhere for LA Detective Sam Carver, who is surprised by the finesse of the quick cut to the victim’s neck. While Gallagher wasn’t the most gregarious man, he’s not someone who seems to have a lot of enemies, even according to Carver’s interview with the dead man’s ex-wife, Miranda, and the ex-wives tend to be the ones with dirt. Carver is sure Miranda is holding something back, but she’s in New York, and Carver can’t seem to wrestle whatever it is out of her before he has to attend to his own East Coast obligations—namely, visiting his mother, who is fading fast with signs of dementia. Readers have a better idea of Gallagher’s murder and the motive, as chapters switch between Carver’s story and the first-person account of the killer, a young woman, also an architect, named Dylan Cross. Dylan has been accessing Gallagher’s computer files for years, and it seems the real mystery is what Gallagher has done to her to motivate her to seek revenge. But Gallagher isn’t the only person Dylan has been surveilling, and she soon dispatches Paul Jamieson, one of Gallagher’s friends, who also had a part to play in what happened to Dylan. The only person she’s counting on to be on her side is Carver, with whom Dylan claims a spiritual-ish connection based on general stalking and reading of his computer files, including his journal. The murders of two friends makes Carver’s investigation easier, as he’s sure the cases are tied together and there are few people who might have motive to kill both men. But Carver may not have to do all the investigative legwork if Dylan continues trying to get close to him—she may be willing to reveal her secrets if she can make Carver into the titular “My Detective.”

An interesting conceit—occasionally bogged down by nonspecifically brooding characters—ramps up to an anticlimax that will test readers’ commitment to Fleishman’s (Shadow Man, 2012, etc.) world.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9825-1729-8

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...


Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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