An enjoyable novel in the style of a classic whodunit mystery set against the backdrop of glamorous Hollywood.

The Death of the Adored

An engaging mystery novel about an alluring French woman, the wealthy Los Angeles community she marries into, and the many bizarre incidents that happen while she’s around.

Catherine Thompson, the woman at the center of Schiller’s (The Inheritance of Death, 2012) novel, is a charismatic, charming LA resident who is initially loved by everyone she meets. Thompson, not a native Californian, was born in Avignon, France, and eventually brought to the West Coast by Jeffery Reynolds, an artist she met and married in London. At first, Thompson is happy in LA, and she has a son named Fredrick. However, she is quickly seduced by the riches and glamour of the world around her, and she both begins an affair with her Mexican handyman, Sergio, and divorces her husband in order to find someone richer and more powerful to marry. Eventually, Catherine gives custody of her son to Jeffery, and she marries her affluent neighbor, Ed, which enables her to begin living the life she always imagined. Catherine and Ed inherit his twin nephews, Mark and Jason, when the boys’ parents die in a house fire, and Catherine is able to open two successful French clothing boutiques in LA, For Women Only. Tragically, however, Catherine’s charmed life turns into anything but. As investigators delve into the events and people surrounding a terrible accident, they discover much more than they bargained for—including a series of bizarre events involving Catherine, such as the deaths of two elderly women in Catherine’s care. Ultimately, everyone involved begins to realize that Catherine might not be an innocent victim; maybe her fairy-tale life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. Schiller’s suspenseful, well-crafted novel has plenty of intrigue. While there is nothing particularly smart or mind-blowing about the mystery’s plot or its resolution, the engaging story will keep readers guessing until the end. Also, as the author is an established Hollywood production designer and art director, the book offers an entertaining insider’s glimpse into some of the intricacies and little-known secrets of high-society Los Angeles.

An enjoyable novel in the style of a classic whodunit mystery set against the backdrop of glamorous Hollywood.

Pub Date: March 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496140777

Page Count: 260

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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