Endless allusions to Dave’s brilliance can’t obscure the fact that the colorless killer’s plot is based on a cliché so...

LET THE DEVIL SLEEP

Still recuperating from the physical and psychic wounds he suffered in closing his last case (Shut Your Eyes Tight, 2011, etc.), retired NYPD Detective Dave Gurney is drawn into yet another one, a 10-year-old serial killing that’s never been closed.

As a favor to Connie Clarke, the freelance reporter who made him famous as the Supercop, Gurney agrees to give her daughter, journalism student Kim Corazon, a little help on a project that’s suddenly mushroomed from an academic thesis to a series on RAM TV. To flesh out her sense of how murder devastates a lot more people than the murder victims, Kim has interviewed the widows and children of victims of the Good Shepherd, who fired on half a dozen drivers in black Mercedes sedans in upstate New York and Massachusetts, left little toy animals at each crime scene, and sent the cops a diatribe against the greedy rich that yielded a very clear psychological profile but proved no help in closing the case a decade ago. Initially agreeing to accompany Kim on her rounds for a single day, Dave predictably gets sucked into deeper involvement with the grieving relatives, some of them happier than others to air their grief; the scalawag front-office types at RAM TV; Kim’s accusatory ex-boyfriend Robert Montague, né Meese; and the law officials who neither solved the case nor want to talk about it now. Of the latter, New York State Police Senior Investigator Jack Hardwick is the most rational and helpful; his colleague Max Clinter, maddened by PTSD after he let the Shepherd escape his last crime scene, the craziest; and FBI agent Matthew Trout the most closemouthed and menacing.

Endless allusions to Dave’s brilliance can’t obscure the fact that the colorless killer’s plot is based on a cliché so well-established in the genre that experienced readers, spotting it long before the tortured genius, will feel pretty doggoned clever themselves.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-71792-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once...

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In Baldacci’s 19th (True Blue, 2009, etc.), boy and girl monster-hunters meet cute.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous—spearheads the first, an ad hoc group of monster-hunting vigilantes. Studly, tall Shaw (no first name supplied) is point guard for a rival team, shadowy enough to leave the matter of its origin ambiguous. While their respective teams reconnoiter and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly these are drawn to each other in the time-honored Hollywood fashion. Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favor. The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team-members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus, singularly inopportune since, as monsters go, Waller rises to the second coming of Caligula—ample testimony furnished by a six-page, unsparingly detailed torture scene. In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once again show the stuff it’s made of.

Pub Date: April 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more