Although not as spectacular as his debut, the hero’s first outing as a full-fledged constable offers more than its share of...

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BEACH, BREEZE, BLOODSHED

Teddy Creque (Sun, Sand, Murder, 2015) continues his Caribbean crime-fighting career by investigating the death of a doctor on Virgin Gorda.

It’s his fishing prowess, not his police valor, that persuades Royal Virgin Islands Police Force deputy commissioner Howard Lane to detail Teddy to Virgin Gorda to dispatch Dr. Michele Konnerth’s killer, a 100-plus-pound bull shark. But now that Teddy’s been promoted to constable and awarded the Queen’s Police Medal to boot, Lane is more inclined to listen to his subordinate’s concerns. So when Teddy offers the opinion that the shark had a human accomplice, the deputy commissioner gives Teddy a week away from his post on tiny Anegada to investigate what may or may not be a crime. It takes Virgin Gorda’s “belongers” a little time to warm to Teddy, but soon he and his Anegadian pal Anthony Wedderburn are supping on Mrs. Scatliffe’s excellent fish stew alongside Constable Tybee George and Station Sgt. Isaac Chalwell at the Virgin Gorda nick. Young Jemmy Jim Trengrouse is a different story. Unlike his garrulous parrot, Sir Winston Churchill, who greets Teddy with a raucous “It de fuzz,” and “Hide de kali,” the atypical 8-year-old offers only a few words a day, taking a walk each morning and spending the rest of the day sequestered in his room creating elaborate Lego replicas of famous landmarks. Getting Jemmy to warm to him is a matter of some urgency to Teddy, who’s convinced the boy has seen something on one of his morning rambles that will help solve the Konnerth murder. The slow progress of Teddy’s relationship with Jemmy and his quicker-paced courtship of Jemmy’s mother, Jeanne, are among the pleasures of Keyse-Walker’s second Caribbean excursion.

Although not as spectacular as his debut, the hero’s first outing as a full-fledged constable offers more than its share of adventure.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-14847-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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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 BITTERROOTS

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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