An engaging, suspenseful novel that combines an intriguing murder mystery with heaps of historical information.

Exquisite Folly

A riveting mystery set in New York City in 1765 on the eve of the Stamp Act.

Thomas Dordrecht, a young, aspiring businessman, returns home to New York after a two-year journey through Europe. He almost immediately bumps into old friend Marinus Willett, who talks about the impending Stamp Act enactment, which would tax Colonial residents for any piece of printed paper they use, and the unrest it has caused. Willett also tells him about a group of anti-Royalists, including himself, who have banded together under the name “the Sons of Liberty” in order to dispute the tax. As Willett and other Sons of Liberty attempt to convince Dordrecht to join their ranks, he’s also trying to find steady employment. Just as he lands himself what he believes to be a lucrative, if short-term, shipping gig, a young woman, Theodora Colegrove, approaches him and offers to hire him to help her solve the mystery of the recent murder of her 18-year-old stepmother, Artemis Colegrove, found stabbed to death near a handwritten note featuring the slogan of the Sons of Liberty. Because he has some experience solving mysteries, Dordrecht accepts the job and delves into the fascinating, sometimes off-putting, and quite chaotic world of the wealthy, prominent Colegrove family. He also witnesses the mounting tensions between those who support the British government and those who resent it. Carriel’s (If Two Are Dead, 2012, etc.) novel delivers a suspenseful mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engaged until the truth about the murder is revealed. It has a bounty of vivid characters, from Calpurnia, the Colegroves’ slave, to Dordrecht himself, who’s at the center of this and other, previous historical mysteries. Finally, Carriel does an excellent job of using old-fashioned language to paint a colorful picture of Colonial life during the 18th century. For example, when Dordrecht’s older cousin Charles comments on his still being unmarried, Dordrecht thinks, “Be damned if I need yet another relative interfering in my private affairs! My mother, sisters, aunts—all have been writing in a panic to see me married and encumbered with children….And now this libertine capon—how I wish he’d at least get a new wig!”

An engaging, suspenseful novel that combines an intriguing murder mystery with heaps of historical information.

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4917-6482-4

Page Count: 316

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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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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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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