Gurney’s and Hardwick’s outsized egos interfere with good judgment in this otherwise smoothly written novel.

READ REVIEW

PETER PAN MUST DIE

Verdon’s successful series—featuring thoughtful, puzzle-solving retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney—adds another chapter with this dark tale of a demented contract killer who becomes entangled with a rich, but disturbed, family.

Kay Spalter is in prison for killing her real estate–mogul husband, Carl. But Jack Hardwick, a former New York State police investigator, is out to spring her from her cell. Not because he thinks she's innocent; no, Hardwick hopes to prove police misconduct. Gurney’s crude, foulmouthed investigator friend lost his job after assisting Gurney with another case, and now he’s knocking on his buddy’s door asking for help on the Spalter situation. Initially, Gurney isn’t interested, but once he dips his toe into the mechanics of the investigation, he starts seeing all kinds of things that make no sense: crime scenes that fail to add up, missing witnesses, people whose stories contradict the evidence presented in court, and suspects that include a drugged-out daughter and a brother who maintains a questionable online church. When the lawyer going to bat for Kay Spalter turns up dead, it becomes evident that Gurney and Hardwick are dealing with something much larger than a mishandled case. Soon, the two men and Hardwick’s stunning police-officer girlfriend, Esti, are on the trail of an insane international hit man. Gurney’s fans like the detective’s patient unraveling of complex puzzles, as well as his unflappable confidence. However, those new to sidekick Hardwick’s brashness and lack of charm may wonder why Gurney would work with him. Verdon has constructed a taut, fascinating tale, but the story gets messy in its final chapters when the retired cop rejects sensible suggestions to bring in the authorities in favor of handling the killer on his own terms, bringing the case to a terrible conclusion.

Gurney’s and Hardwick’s outsized egos interfere with good judgment in this otherwise smoothly written novel.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-34840-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more