While other novelists are doing everything they can to inflate their tales of cloak and dagger, trust Le Carré (A Most...

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OUR KIND OF TRAITOR

Le Carré uses still another aspect of international relations in the new world order—the powerful, equivocal position of money launderers to the Russian mob—to put a new spin on a favorite theme: the betrayal that inevitably follows from sharply divided loyalties.

In between his hated old life as an Oxford don and his dimly imagined new life as a grade-school teacher, Peregrine Makepiece takes his girlfriend, rising barrister Gail Perkins, on holiday to Antigua. Their prowess on the tennis court is observed by an amiable Russian who presses Perry to play him. But Dima, né Dmitri Vladimirovich Krasnov, wants much more than a game. In return for providing details to Her Majesty’s Secret Service about his money laundering for the Seven Brothers, who dominate Russian organized crime, he wants asylum and protection for himself and his family. He wants his children to be placed in top English schools. And he wants Perry to hold his hand through it all. Following their exhaustive debriefing by Luke and Yvonne, a pair of jaundiced spooks, Perry and Gail are sent to Paris, where Dima has asked for a meeting that’s clearly supposed to set the stage for his flight from his comrades. Don’t try to behave like spies, Perry and Gail are advised—act innocent. That’s easily done, because the couple is much more innocent than they realize. Although they know more than they ought to about Dima’s family, especially his daughter Natasha, they know next to nothing about his business associates, and nothing at all of Luke’s fragile position in the Service, or his boss Hector Meredith’s complicated set of conflicts with financiers, lawyers, lobbyists and Members of Parliament whose agendas are quite different from Hector’s, Luke’s, Perry’s or Dima’s.

While other novelists are doing everything they can to inflate their tales of cloak and dagger, trust Le Carré (A Most Wanted Man, 2008, etc.) to make his story of international money laundering, political infighting and unwitting treachery into a chamber symphony of exquisite delicacy.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-670-02224-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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

THE SILENT PATIENT

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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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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