An engaging crime tale with a captivating cast of characters.

NO MOLASSES IN RHUM

In this novel, a man finds a friend’s corpse in the trunk of his car.

One day in 1990s Brooklyn, Ti Zoot returns from Haiti and decides to pick up his car at his friend Ernse’s home. When Ti Zoot opens the trunk, he discovers Ernse’s body. Readers learn that this may be the vengeful result of Ernse’s impregnating the girlfriend of a gangster named Quico. Flash-forward, and Ti Zoot is missing his pal, while Ernse’s wife, Nancy, is trying to move on and raise her daughter. Nancy begins to date Max, a Miami gangster who recently moved to New York City and has his own crew. Max is making a name for himself on the street, but his friends—namely Pik and Fredo—think they are tough, too, and go after Ti Zoot after he starts a petty beef. (The protagonist puts them in their place.) Ti Zoot and his friends become enemies of Max and his crew, and the two groups face off in a few confrontations. Afterward, Ti Zoot prioritizes protecting his friends—including Jimmy, who is falling for Nancy—and trying to figure out what events led to Ernse’s murder. Meanwhile, Max seriously considers the possibility that the war started because of Pik’s and Fredo’s ineptitude. Duval’s characters are mostly grounded and feel like a real-life community. Similarly, rich details, such as references to the Haitian cuisine the players devour, amplify the story, making it feel as if readers could visit Brooklyn and see these characters. The prologue and epilogue are both strong. The latter deftly delivers a sweet, tender flashback, adding a final note of hopefulness to the tale. Unfortunately, the story’s middle section tends to drag a bit. In addition, the exchanges at times read like dialogue in a play. When Jimmy talks to Nancy about Ernse’s death, it will be easy for readers to picture her standing on a stage as she reveals: “After losing my husband? You can say it….I remember after it happened for weeks…months. I refused to let myself smile, enjoy a moment with my daughter, share my thoughts. I refused to live.” While this scene brings to mind August Wilson, the technique does not work that well in a novel.

An engaging crime tale with a captivating cast of characters. (Glossary)

Pub Date: June 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-955062-07-7

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Running Wild Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2022

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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

ONE STEP TOO FAR

Frankie Elkin, a miraculous finder of missing persons, seeks a man who wandered into the wilderness and was never seen again.

Last seen rescuing a missing teenager from the gritty streets of Boston, Frankie embarks from a bus in Ramsey, Wyoming, drawn in by the story of hiker Timothy O’Day, who's been missing for five years, and the last-gasp efforts of his father, Martin, to search for his remains. Frankie has some regrets about leaving Boston, but she's called to find those others have given up on. She manages to finagle her way on to the search party, which in addition to Martin includes a local guide; a search-and-rescue dog and her handler; a Bigfoot expert; and Tim’s friends, who were in the woods with him when he went missing. In the years since, they’ve moved on with their lives, but they are carrying guilt and secrets about the night Tim disappeared. As they all head into the unforgiving wilderness, it quickly becomes apparent that someone is deeply threatened by this effort to find Tim’s body. As she endeavors to draw the truth from each member of the search party, Frankie can tell that she's in over her head, and not only because she’s an inexperienced outdoorswoman. Could Tim still be alive and looking for revenge, or is there a more dangerous secret that someone would kill to protect? Gardner is incredibly skilled at developing tension and suspense; she’s equally skilled at slowly revealing complex characters and their secrets. Both gifts reinforce each other in this novel. If Frankie is out of her element, so are we: It’s not often that a thriller so deeply casts us into the darkness of both nature and the human heart.

Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18541-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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