With a cast of characters too numerous and flatly quirky to track, Chandler’s latest (Pickle in the Middle Murder, 2013,...

READ REVIEW

CHIP OFF THE ICE BLOCK MURDER

A daughter tries to clear her father’s name when he’s implicated in a murder she can’t believe he committed.

Shay O’Hanlon’s bags are packed for a quick New Year's Eve getaway with her girlfriend, JT Bordeaux, one of Minnesota’s finest cops. Their relationship has been going strong, and they're looking forward to stoking the fire with a few quiet days in Duluth. But then Shay gets a call saying her father hasn't shown up for work at the bar he owns, the Leprechaun, on one of the busiest nights of the year. An on-again, off-again drunk, Peter O’Hanlon isn’t particularly reliable, and Shay heads over to take his place behind the bar even though slinging beers is the last thing on her mind; she needs to make sure the Lep makes it through the night in the black. Luckily, a stranger named Lisa Vecoli wanders in looking for Pete and ends up giving Shay a hand, along with Nick "Coop" Cooper, Shay’s dearest friend. In fact, it’s a good thing Pete is MIA, since before the night is out, a police detective comes looking for him: One of Pete’s guns has been found frozen solid in a block of ice along with a body. Shay and JT cancel their trip so they can find Pete and clear his name. Their only clue is that he appears to have been ready to sell the Lep to a mysterious group called Subsidy Renovations Inc.

With a cast of characters too numerous and flatly quirky to track, Chandler’s latest (Pickle in the Middle Murder, 2013, etc.) is her most confusing yet. Developing the minor figures more fully would lead to a bigger payoff when the final twist comes.

Pub Date: May 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7387-3939-7

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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?

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more