Part sequel, part rehash of unfinished business from Stockholm Delete. As in Faulkner, the past in Lapidus isn’t even...

TOP DOG

Talk about your star-crossed lovers. When Lapidus reunites Teddy Maksumic, who served eight years for a kidnapping he didn’t commit, with newly independent lawyer Emelie Jansson, it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves.

Tossed out of her white-shoe firm for her part in the earlier case (Stockholm Delete, 2017), Emelie’s in a perfect position to take a pleading phone call from a young woman she knows only as Katja, who’s survived a long series of sexual abuses beginning when she was 13 only to face a new horror: Chief Inspector Nina Ley’s demand that she detail every outrage she suffered so that Ley can bring her abusers to justice. Katja’s situation is so harrowing that it’s practically a mercy when she’s stabbed to death soon after Ley begins interrogating her with Emelie at her side. Meanwhile, Teddy’s nephew, Nikola, finds his resolve to avoid his uncle’s criminal career complicated by the murder of his best friend, Chamon Hanna—a crime that demands revenge more personal and effective than the legal system can provide. And Iranian party girl Roksana’s housewarming party to celebrate her cohabitation with Z, the boyfriend who’s moved in with her, turns into a once-in-a-lifetime lark when they discover several kilos of ketamine hidden behind a false wall in their new digs, then into a nightmare when the drug lord from whom it was taken demands an impossible payment for the goods. As in his Stockholm Noir trilogy, Lapidus plots on an epic scale; if you think one plotline is beginning to flag, just wait for new details about his double-crossing gangsters, his two-faced socialites, and his hard-used heroine and her unlikely swain. Even better, he produces a climactic surprise that really does tie many of the strands of this untidy saga together.

Part sequel, part rehash of unfinished business from Stockholm Delete. As in Faulkner, the past in Lapidus isn’t even past—and although it’s not dead, it’s more than capable of killing the living.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-43173-2

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

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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