The highlights of the third in this marvelous and often amusing series (A Bed of Scorpions, 2016, etc.) are neighborhood...

A CAST OF VULTURES

From the Sam Clair series , Vol. 3

A missing neighbor, a series of fires, and turmoil at work are just the start of Samantha Clair’s problems.

A hangover has put Sam, a Canadian-born book publisher living in North London, in a foul mood. But she can’t say no to her elderly friend Viv when she asks for help in learning whether her friend Dennis, who lives upstairs from her in a council flat, is missing or perhaps lying dead on his floor, since no one's seen him in days. A search of the flat reveals no body and no reason for Dennis to be missing, and the police are not much interested. So Sam goes into sleuthing mode over the objections of her CID boyfriend, Jake. The next disaster to strike the neighborhood is a fire that destroys a house that sheltered several squatters who've all lived there for years: Mo and Dan and their son; electrician Mike; and gardener Steve. Jake, who isn’t up on the local gossip, is not pleased to hear about the squatters and even less pleased when Sam decides to let Steve use her front yard to grow veggies. When Dennis is found dead at the fire scene, Sam learns that although he worked for the local council, he also ran an after-school teen club. Because a large amount of cash was found in his flat, the working theory is that he was a drug dealer using neighborhood teens to help deliver his wares. At Sam’s publishing house, a team of management consultants who lack even basic knowledge of the business is driving everyone crazy, and at home, Sam and Jake continue to bicker over the squatters. Although Sam thinks she’s discovered little that will help solve the neighborhood’s problems, a series of scary incidents forces her to consider what she really does know.

The highlights of the third in this marvelous and often amusing series (A Bed of Scorpions, 2016, etc.) are neighborhood characters who are a basket of enjoyables and a complex and brainy heroine.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08782-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

more