An action-packed treat for conspiracy theorists that more skeptical readers may find hard to swallow.




Venturing outside Cabot Cove, Maine, Jessica Fletcher (A Date with Murder, 2018, etc.) finds the rest of the country just as dangerous.

During a visit to New York, Jessica is approached by fellow author Thomas Rudd, who claims that their publisher, Lane Barfield, is skimming money from their royalties. When Rudd fails to show up for a meeting, Jessica has only to follow her nose to his building to find out that he was killed in an apparent gas explosion that looks suspicious to both her and her old friend NYPD lieutenant Artie Gelber. When Jessica goes to her publisher's office and tells him Rudd is dead, Barfield can barely contain his excitement about The Affair, a first novel he's just acquired from an unknown author named Benjamin Tally. He thinks it will be a blockbuster, but he asks Jessica to read it to see if she agrees. Besides the manuscript he hands over to Jessica, Barfield had a copy of The Affair on a thumb drive he says Rudd stole. Jessica asks her accountant to look into Rudd's claim about her royalties, and he thinks there may have been something odd going on—but when Barfield dies, an apparent suicide, Jessica has a bad feeling about his death, too. She goes to Barfield's office and asks his assistant, Zara, a few questions about Barfield's mood and about The Affair, but Zara can't find anything in the computer system about the book or its author. On starting to read the manuscript during her trip home, Jessica finds it so gripping that she can’t put it down. It’s a bloody and harrowing tale of a young man who's been kidnapped and brought up to be a killer by the mysterious Guardians and who saves the president’s daughter from hired killers after she overhears a dangerous secret. Two other authors Barfield asked to read the manuscript are murdered, and Jessica is attacked and left for dead in her burning house before she can finish reading her copy. Deeply shaken and highly motivated, she joins forces with Gelber and her old friend Mort Metzger, the sheriff of Cabot Cove, to uncover the truth. All the clues lead to Washington, D.C., where they reveal a series of mind-blowing secrets.

An action-packed treat for conspiracy theorists that more skeptical readers may find hard to swallow.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-48930-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

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The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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