Still, the mystery is not the point in Fielding’s work: A page-turning ride with a likable protagonist is, and here, she...

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SOMEONE IS WATCHING

A detective searches for her rapist in Fielding’s latest thriller.

Heiress to her father’s Wall Street fortune, Bailey Carpenter lives a life of privilege in a luxury Miami high-rise and works as an investigator for a law firm. However, Bailey and her actor-brother Heath are being sued by their five half siblings, who were left out of the will. Bailey is still traumatized by her father’s fatal heart attack and by her mother’s long ordeal and death from cancer. Her romantic life is also complex—she’s in love with her married boss. Hiding in some bushes after midnight, staking out a deadbeat dad, Bailey is viciously raped by a masked assailant. She can recall only the feel of his gloves, a fleeting glance at his black Nike sneakers and his voice, asking her to “tell me you love me.” Another ordeal begins as Bailey, on leave from work, suffers panic attacks, severe weight loss and recurring dreams of her attacker and circling sharks. Her half sister Claire, a nurse, comes to the rescue, accompanied by teen daughter Jade, who has done a stint in juvie and expertly picks Bailey’s locks. Despite the lawsuit, Claire’s care for Bailey is devoid of any greedy ulterior motives. She recommends a therapist and tries to discourage Bailey from another self-destructive habit she has picked up: observing a man in a neighboring high-rise who has nightly sexual assignations fully visible through his open window. As his acts become violent, Bailey can't interest law enforcement in focusing on the window exhibitionist since she's the only one to ever observe him doing anything suspicious and her credibility is suspect due to mental instability. The conclusion to all this involves improbable coincidences, a giant MacGuffin and surprising lapses of intuition on the part of supposedly seasoned gumshoe Bailey; her hypersensitivity is very selectively triggered, usually by red herrings.

Still, the mystery is not the point in Fielding’s work: A page-turning ride with a likable protagonist is, and here, she succeeds admirably.

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-39063-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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