Gritty neo-noir with an all-too-plausible speculative twist.


A San Francisco PI gets much more than he bargains for when he’s asked to investigate the suspicious death of a wealthy young woman.

Ex-attorney–turned–private investigator Lee Crowe hasn’t lacked for jobs in the six years since he was disbarred for beating the stuffing out of his now ex-wife’s lover, a California Supreme Court associate justice. In fact, most of his jobs in his early days as a PI came from his ex-boss attorney Jim Gardner, who likely has a finger in plenty of the city’s dirtiest deeds. When Crowe happens upon the body of a beautiful young woman on the caved-in roof of a Rolls Royce Wraith parked in front of the decidedly down-market Refugio Apartments, he can’t resist snapping photos for a quick tabloid sale. Jim spots the photo and offers Crowe another job. The dead woman is 20-year-old Claire Gravesend, and her mother, the wealthy and influential Olivia Gravesend, doesn’t believe Claire committed suicide. Crowe has Olivia’s considerable resources to back up his investigation, and he’ll need them. He flies to Boston to examine Claire's home, where he has a violent encounter with a knife-wielding intruder. Shaken, he returns to San Francisco, where he discovers that Claire's secret pied-à-terre is hiding something even stranger: a woman in Claire’s bed who looks just like Claire and shares the strange circular scars on her spine that appeared on Claire’s autopsy photos. Shocked but undeterred and not afraid to get his hands dirty, Crowe seeks answers from Olivia’s mother and Claire’s doppelgänger in a case that’s shaping up to be stranger than fiction. Moore's rough-and-tumble PI operates firmly in varying shades of gray; the author delivers enough action and atmosphere to satisfy readers who like their gumshoes old-school while having a lot to say about humankind’s hubris and preoccupation with eternal youth. The mastermind behind Claire’s death is truly vile, and the disturbing finale will linger. Luckily, Moore sets things up for a sequel.

Gritty neo-noir with an all-too-plausible speculative twist.

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-98781-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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?

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...


Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Did you like this book?