An exciting, financially savvy story of Wall Street malfeasance and murder.



A murder mystery set against the backdrop of the impending financial crisis of 2008.

Dr. Joshua “JD” Dionne receives an anxious call from the wife of one of his closest friends—Dr. Richard Bridger—who seems to have gone missing. When Dionne checks Bridger’s hotel room, he finds a blood-soaked scene with signs of a struggle and a severed finger he’s sure came from Richard’s hand. The list of suspects is long. Richard’s wife, Dot, was exasperated by his chronic infidelity and had financial motives to kill him. Every husband whose wife slept with Richard has to be considered as well. Additionally, Richard had busted a former student—John Maynard Carter—for plagiarism and then alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission that he might be involved in financial fraud. Dionne has a background in forensic accounting and participates in the investigation led by Detective Antonio Puccini, a Columbo aficionado. But the complications don’t end there. Dionne’s friend Fareed gets entangled in a contretemps with an artist who has ties to Carter as well as Carter’s friend Harriman, who also seems knee-deep in nefarious financial activity. Fareed’s life is threatened over the dispute (and his dog is murdered), and Dionne is nearly offed after he discovers Harriman is running a complex Ponzi scheme. Thrown into the mix is the possibility of a maniacal serial killer with plans to make Dionne his next victim. In his first novel, Pill creates a tangled skein of clues, a tantalizing feast for the reader hungry for investigative intricacy. Also, the author smartly weaves in the 2008 banking debacle, which serves as the motivation for considerable wrongdoing. And while the plot can be frustratingly dense, Pill repeatedly offers readers helpful synopses, sometimes delivered in bullet notes. The dialogue can be melodramatically rendered, however. Consider Dionne’s wife’s reaction to an attempt on his life: “JD, what in Hades is happening to us? A week ago our biggest problem was Lehman Brothers’ stock price, and maybe Junior’s curfew, and now we’re thinking about armed guards for our house.” Overall, Pill’s creation is both intelligently fashioned and genuinely immersive, ideal for fans of crime fiction.

An exciting, financially savvy story of Wall Street malfeasance and murder. 

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2017


Page Count: 694

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.


When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus run over a longtime acquaintance of hers—Barbara Baker, a woman she doesn't like very much—it's only the beginning of the shake-ups to come in her life and the lives of those she loves.

Astrid has been tootling along contentedly in the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, New York, a 68-year-old widow with three grown children. After many years of singlehood since her husband died, she's been quietly seeing Birdie Gonzalez, her hairdresser, for the past two years, and after Barbara's death she determines to tell her children about the relationship: "There was no time to waste, not in this life. There were always more school buses." Elliot, her oldest, who's in real estate, lives in Clapham with his wife, Wendy, who's Chinese American, and their twins toddlers, Aidan and Zachary, who are "such hellions that only a fool would willingly ask for more." Astrid's daughter, Porter, owns a nearby farm producing artisanal goat cheese and has just gotten pregnant through a sperm bank while having an affair with her married high school boyfriend. Nicky, the youngest Strick, is disconcertingly famous for having appeared in an era-defining movie when he was younger and now lives in Brooklyn with his French wife, Juliette, and their daughter, Cecelia, who's being shipped up to live with Astrid for a while after her friend got mixed up with a pedophile she met online. As always, Straub (Modern Lovers, 2016, etc.) draws her characters warmly, making them appealing in their self-centeredness and generosity, their insecurity and hope. The cast is realistically diverse, though in most ways it's fairly superficial; the fact that Birdie is Latina or Porter's obstetrician is African American doesn't have much impact on the story or their characters. Cecelia's new friend, August, wants to make the transition to Robin; that storyline gets more attention, with the two middle schoolers supporting each other through challenging times. The Stricks worry about work, money, sex, and gossip; Straub has a sharp eye for her characters' foibles and the details of their liberal, upper-middle-class milieu.

With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59463-469-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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