A giant forward leap when it comes to plot, but the prose is weighed down with an avalanche of similes and odd verb choices.

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THE WINTER FOUNDLINGS

Rhodes places her go-to protagonist, Alice Quentin, in peril again in this third novel in the series.

When another abduction involving young girls takes place in London, Metropolitan Police DCI Don Burns once again turns to diminutive but spunky psychologist Quentin for help. The killings mimic the methods employed by another killer, Louis Kinsella, who has been locked up for 17 years. But while police search for 10-year-old Ella Williams, Kinsella, who is housed in the Laurels—a maximum security psychiatric prison that holds the worst of the worst—the copycat killer continues to abduct children. Quentin, who went to the Laurels to research a book, reluctantly finds herself at the center of yet another investigation involving Burns. Although Quentin now realizes she's attracted to the burly DCI, she also sees that he’s intimately involved with a beautiful, cold-as-ice fellow officer, DI Tania Goddard. As she tries to pry information out of the vicious killer, Quentin finds herself drawn into the internal staff friendships and rivalries at the Laurels and repelled that Kinsella reminds her so much of her own father, an abusive drunk. Eventually she realizes it's no accident that the latest victim has been left on the steps of London’s Foundling Museum, but the motive still eludes her. While Rhodes’ previous efforts fell short of memorable, this entry shows both promise and sharpening skills. She keeps the action moving at a good clip and peppers it with plausible suspects but continues to render Alice less than sympathetic by virtue of her questionable judgment. Despite a series of events that a normal person, much less someone who works with vicious murderers, would report, Alice squirrels away that information and—all too typically—puts herself squarely in the killer’s bull’s eye.

A giant forward leap when it comes to plot, but the prose is weighed down with an avalanche of similes and odd verb choices.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-01432-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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