A rousing, energetic drug tale sure to spark interest in this legal thriller series.



In this sequel, a United States attorney and a task force pursue a murderous cartel leader in South America.

In his past dealings with the Baja Norte Familia, San Diego prosecutor Nick Drummond shot and killed the drug cartel’s lieutenant. But the deputy district attorney, believing Nick shot an unarmed man, brings a first-degree murder indictment against him. Nick is already assisting the U.S. Marshal’s office in linking cartel leader Javier Esquel-Ranchez to the murder of a deputy marshal. As Javier ties up “loose ends” related to the homicide, he also seeks vengeance, which includes putting a hit on Nick for the fatal shooting. In the meantime, Javier heads south, initially to Peru, to establish a way to transport cocaine to the United States. Nick and a task force are intent on capturing the cartel leader so he can face charges in America. They’ll have to track and ultimately confront Javier and his men in the Amazon jungle. But succeeding at trial may necessitate securing a witness: Raul Saladez-Montes, one of the hired guns in the deputy marshal’s homicide, who, after surviving the cartel’s assassination attempt, is on the hunt for Javier. As Dutton’s second installment is directly connected to the preceding novel, Path to Justice (2017), the book hits the ground running. All of the subplots and alternating narrative perspectives, particularly Nick’s and Javier’s, generate a brisk, steady pace. Action takes precedence over the legal battles, and readers unfortunately see very little of Nick inside a courtroom. Nevertheless, the story delivers surprisingly effective melodrama, like Nick, separated from his wife, becoming romantically involved with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Ana Schwartz. Similarly, there are tender moments featuring Javier and Elin Staarsgard, a zoology professor on sabbatical. This relationship makes Javier somewhat sympathetic, even though readers know without a doubt that he’s a malicious criminal.

A rousing, energetic drug tale sure to spark interest in this legal thriller series.

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951559-01-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Lettra Press LLC

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

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Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

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Coben’s latest darkest-suburbs thriller sets a decidedly offbeat detective on the trail of a crime with overtones unmistakably redolent of once and future presidential elections.

Wilde is called Wilde because nobody’s known his real name from the moment a pair of hikers found him foraging for himself in Ramapo Mountain State Forest 24 years ago. Now over 40, he’s had experience as both a lost boy and a private investigator. That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. Matthew doesn’t really want anyone to help. He doesn’t even want anyone to notice his agitation. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene (Run Away, 2019) to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star–turned–presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. Everything’s hunky-dory for one week, and then she disappears again. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. The tapes link Rusty to a forgotten and forgettable homicide and add a paranoid new ripped-from-the-headlines dimension to the author’s formidable range. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.

Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4814-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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