An engrossing and satisfying mystery with a humble Texas physician/sleuth at its heart.

ACT OF MURDER

From the A Doc Brady Mystery series , Vol. 1

The death of a child shocks a tightly knit community and sparks an intense homicide investigation in this series opener.

Veteran Houston physician and debut author Bishop kicks off a medical thriller series featuring Texas family man and orthopedic surgeon Jim Bob “Doc” Brady. It’s the spring of 1994, and Brady hears a “sickening thud” and the screeching of tires behind his house in what is typically a peaceful neighborhood. He discovers 10-year-old Stevie Huntley, a neighbor’s son, crushed in the street, the victim of a hit-and-run driver. Immediately labeled a vehicular homicide, the case is assigned to local detective Susan Beeson. Without leads, Beeson leans on the Brady family for discreet assistance and insider information on the neighborhood. His conversations reveal that Stevie had a bone fragility disease and raise the suspicion that the homicide was premeditated. And when medical colleague T. Edmund “Ed” Wilson begins acting with uncharacteristic aggression, Brady fears something more nefarious is afloat. Shaken but unbroken by the tragedy, the resilient Doc Brady aims to help police solve a crime that, as things progress, involves genetics, adoptions, and the extended Huntley family along with some heinously dishonorable intentions. Bishop never lets genetic jargon overwhelm the story’s momentum as more suspicious deaths occur and the race to bring the perpetrators to justice becomes everyone’s top priority. Greed—not surprisingly—figures into the plot. Though the action ignites from the opening pages, Bishop incrementally introduces his characters, including Brady’s computer-savvy son, J.J., and the doctor’s wife, Mary Louise, with whom he shares a playful intimacy. Brady is a naturally warmhearted first-person narrator, describing events with urgency while incorporating homespun nuances and clever banter. With a marked absence of gore, graphic violence, or offensive language, this novel gives readers an intriguing puzzle to solve yet not an overly complicated one, opening his readership to a young adult audience as well.

An engrossing and satisfying mystery with a humble Texas physician/sleuth at its heart.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73425-110-4

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Mantid Press

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2020

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Not for the squeamish but a jolt for thriller junkies.

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The 10th installment in the Gray Man series begins with a dent in the hero’s armor and revs up with nonstop action.

Court Gentry, aka the Gray Man, is recovering from a stab wound, and he really needs to get some rest. He’s tired and badly weakened, not yet fit for operational duty, but the CIA’s off-the-books contract killer is “wholly unaccustomed to free time.” Soon he’s in Caracas, trying to spring his comrade in arms Zack Hightower from a Venezuelan prison. Then he’s off to Germany to deal with a possible coordinated attack on Americans in Berlin. Gentry, whose CIA code name is Violator, is that rare killer with a heart, so he takes only “righteous and worthy” assignments and does them right. His CIA boss congratulates him on one assassination, saying “You put a warhead on his forehead.” Gentry’s in love with Zoya Zakharova, a field operative also working for the CIA, but gunning down bad guys keeps both too busy for a meaningful relationship. Meanwhile, a sultan in the United Arab Emirates can hardly wait for his father to die of cancer, and an Iranian Quds sleeper agent plots mayhem in Berlin. Evildoers abound in this bloody thriller, including Americans. But the star of the scum is Maksim Akulov, who works for the Russian Mafia and whose target is Zakharova. Think of Akulov as the Gray Man without the moral compass. The title aptly fits the plot, as the hero scarcely takes a breather. There’s enough bloodshed to pour into two thrillers, and author Greaney doesn’t spare the good guys. Gentry’s body is “racked with pain and exhaustion” much of the time, but he is relentless. And Zack gets more than scratched while he thinks that “fighting a robot attack would be one badass way to go.”

Not for the squeamish but a jolt for thriller junkies.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-09895-0

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

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A legendary spy takes a vacation—or tries to, anyway—in Silva’s 20th Gabriel Allon novel.

Gabriel is trying to enjoy some rest and relaxation with his family in Venice when he learns that an old friend has died. As it happens, this old friend was Pope Paul VII, and it’s not long before Allon is summoned by the pontiff’s personal secretary. Archbishop Luigi Donati has reason to believe that the Holy Father did not die a natural death. For each of the past several summers, Silva has delivered a thriller that seems to be ripped from the headlines. This latest book feels, at first, like something of a throwback. Palace intrigue at the Vatican might seem quaint compared to Islamist extremism or Russia’s rise as an international influence, but Silva makes it relevant and compelling. Allon discovers that the most likely culprits in the death of the pope are connected to far-right leaders throughout Europe, and the rediscovery of a lost Gospel sheds new light on Christian anti-Semitism. The villains here are Catholic traditionalists—Silva’s imaginary Paul VII looks a lot like the real-life Francis I—and “populist” politicians who appeal to nativist, anti-globalist sympathies. As Silva looks at European contempt for a new wave of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, he finds a model for this xenophobia in ancient hatred of the Jewish people, an antipathy that has its roots in the New Testament. He interjects a few Bible studies lessons and offers a bit of history as background; these passages add depth without impeding the forward momentum of the plot. Readers familiar with this series may notice the evolution of a motif introduced a few novels ago: In the world of Gabriel Allon, the United States has receded from relevance on the world stage.

Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-283484-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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