Heywood’s dialogue-driven story, which manages to be both brisk and lumbering, reads less like a self-contained tale than...

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RED JACKET

The creator of the Grady Service Woods Cop adventures (Strike Dog, 2007, etc.) launches a new series that follows the adventures of another Upper Michigan game warden a century earlier.

Col. Theodore Roosevelt values the men who follow him and inspires them in turn to fierce loyalty. So when the old Rough Rider asks trapper Luther Bapcat, who followed him up San Juan Hill 15 years earlier, to become Deputy Game, Fish and Forestry Warden for Houghton and Keweenaw Counties, there’s no way Lute can refuse. Partnering with bounty hunter Pinkhus Sergeyevich Zakov, he heads to his new headquarters in Ahmeek and immediately realizes there’s a lot more to his job than protecting fish, game and forests. The copper miners of the Upper Peninsula are preparing to strike, and Capt. Madog Hedyn, the hard-nosed boss of the Delaware mine, has hired gunslingers to shoot the native deer and leave the carcasses to rot in order to deprive the strikers of food that might help them through the winter. Even though Lute once worked in the mines himself, it’s hard to find anyone to root for in the free-for-all that develops. The mine bosses are ruthless, the strikers surly, the local law clearly in the bosses’ pockets. Rumor has it that the Black Hand is involved, and Zakov is always happy to explain how things are no better here than in Russia. Even Lute’s lover, lusty dry-goods widow Jaquelle Frei, is said to be involved in the flesh trade, as a wholesale supplier of all the necessary material, including human material. The inevitable murders, when they finally begin, are almost incidental to a doomy tale that ends with a calamity that claims 73 lives in one fell swoop.

Heywood’s dialogue-driven story, which manages to be both brisk and lumbering, reads less like a self-contained tale than the opening salvo in an ongoing saga—which presumably is just the idea.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7627-8253-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

THINGS IN JARS

Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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