Fans of Lourey’s mysteries featuring a librarian heroine (February Fever, 2015, etc.) will scarcely recognize this series...

SALEM'S CIPHER

Circumstances force a pair of best friends to take on a dangerous quest.

Salem Wiley and Isabel "Bel" Odegaard are lifelong friends despite their differences. Salem is a brilliant loner, with degrees in computer science and mathematics, who lives in Minneapolis, specializes in cryptanalysis, but is terrified of new places. Only a rigid schedule makes her feel secure. Bel is a stunning Chicago cop who’s a few years older and much tougher. One night Salem gets a late-night call from Bel—there's been a bloody crime in Bel's mother Grace's Minneapolis apartment. Grace is missing, and her neighbor is dead. Meeting Bel and the police in Grace's apartment, Salem finds a wooden box that she'd made for her own mother, Vida, years ago—and Vida turns out to be missing, too. The only clue on the scene is a sliced-off finger. FBI agent Lucan Stone knows but doesn’t reveal that this is just the latest in a series of murders the press has not connected because of all the hype surrounding a female presidential candidate, Minnesota senator Gina Hayes. Salem finds a coded note in her mother's box but keeps it from the police. When Salem decodes the note, it reads: “Talk: to Keller about Revenge then go home follow the trail trust no one.” This initial hint sends the pair on a dangerous hunt and reveals much they didn’t know about their families. Their mothers are part of a large group of women who have been fighting a powerful collective known as the Hermitage for hundreds of years. The Hermitage, who’ll do anything to keep women subjugated, sets assassins on Salem's and Bel’s trails and plans to kill Sen. Hayes. Salem’s skills send the pair hunting all over the country. Desperate to discover the fates of their mothers, Salem and Bel must depend on luck and some newfound friends as they strive to unlock the secrets of the past and present.

Fans of Lourey’s mysteries featuring a librarian heroine (February Fever, 2015, etc.) will scarcely recognize this series debut. The fascinating historical information combined with a storyline ripped from the headlines will hook conspiracy theorists and action addicts alike.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4969-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

more