A complex case with a surfeit of red herrings that still marks a distinct improvement over Pullen’s uninspiring debut (Cold...



A North Carolina cop lands her dream job with the Homicide Division only to risk becoming a victim herself.

State Bureau of Investigation Agent Stella Lavender hates her job in Narcotics till a chance meeting with hitchhiker Nikki Truly, late for a babysitting job, leads to the discovery of a body and a chance to move to Homicide. Nikki is supposed to babysit Paige, the young daughter of Kent and the very pregnant Temple Mercer, but Kent never arrived to pick her up from school. It’s Stella who finds his bloody body when she delivers Nikki to her job, and she recognizes him as the Clemmie’s restaurant manager who only the night before had sold her illegal drugs. In the meantime, toddler Paige isn't in the house and nobody knows where she is. Stella’s already concerned about her grandmother Fern, a free-spirited artist whose house is falling down. Years of giving art lessons have put Fern in touch with many people, and Stella feels certain that she’s hiding knowledge of Paige’s whereabouts. Fixing up the house gets a lot easier when Fern discloses a treasure trove of expensive paintings in the attic, but getting Fern to come clean is not so easy. The case turns even darker when well-loved former football star Lincoln Teller, the owner of Clemmie’s, is badly hurt in a questionable car accident and then nearly dies of an overdose in the hospital, and Stella’s beloved psychiatrist, Dr. Emilie Soto , who also treated Temple, is shot and nearly killed while talking to Stella. Who was the shooter really after? Stella must figure out which of the suspects tangled in love affairs, drug dealing, and money problems is the murderer before she’s killed herself just as life is looking up for her and Fern.

A complex case with a surfeit of red herrings that still marks a distinct improvement over Pullen’s uninspiring debut (Cold Feet, 2013).

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4328-3257-5

Page Count: 278

Publisher: Gale Cengage

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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.


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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