Still good, but the cat, who gets all the punchlines, is a lot funnier than the people.

MIMI LEE CRACKS THE CODE

An animal groomer and her telepathically connected cat must clear the name of a friend and investor.

In addition to her work as the CEO of her own tech company and the main investor in Hollywoof, Mimi Lee’s pet grooming business, Pixie St. James is joining the short-term rental market with a property she’s just bought in Catalina. And because the house is unbooked for an upcoming weekend, she offers it gratis to Mimi; Mimi’s boyfriend, Josh, a lawyer; and even Mimi’s cat, Marshmallow. It’s a great chance for Mimi and Josh to get away from it all. Catalina’s only an hour from LA by ferry but a world away in terms of lifestyle, and Mimi and Josh need a break from work, which keeps them from spending much time together. But after Mimi and Josh arrive with Marshmallow in tow, their vacation is essentially cancelled because Gertrude, Josh’s new paralegal, all but ensures that Josh has to burn the midnight oil on work responsibilities. If that weren’t enough to put a damper on their good times, an issue with Pixie’s latest renter, Davis D. Argo, shifts Mimi from couple time to investigative mode. Bad news about Davis’ fate connects Mimi with her old antagonist Detective Brown, though he may have become a bit gentler now that Mimi’s given him Nimbus the kitty to adopt. If nothing else, Mimi’s confident that her ability to telepathically connect to Marshmallow will help clear Pixie as she and Marshmallow dig into the case.

Still good, but the cat, who gets all the punchlines, is a lot funnier than the people.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984-80503-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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