by Katherine Hall Page ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 5, 2017
The mystery, though surprising enough, is outshone by family problems, detailed descriptions of the setting, and devilishly...
A coffin as a birthday gift is either a bizarre joke or a very bad omen.
Every aspect of Faith Fairchild’s life in lovely Aleford, Massachusetts, is about to cause her trouble. Her college-bound son Ben’s girlfriend, who tells him she needs some space, has unfriended him on Facebook. Her best friend Pix’s daughter has lost her job and her boyfriend and moved home. Pix’s widowed mother is dating a man whose motives are suspect. The town council, whose members include Faith’s minister husband, is divided over a proposal to put in a strip mall. But these problems fade away when Faith receives a call from Max Dane, once a famous Broadway producer, offering her an outrageous amount to cater a weekendlong birthday party for a dozen people at his nearby estate. Arriving at Max’s mansion to discuss the arrangements, she meets his attractive jack-of-all-trades, Ian Morrison, who will help her cater to the guests. Although Max does indeed want to throw a birthday party, he’s actually hiring Faith for her talents as an amateur sleuth (The Body in the Wardrobe, 2016, etc.) because he’s sure one of his guests has sent him a coffin containing a Playbill from his 20-year-old production of Heaven or Hell: The Musical. The play was a flop that wrecked the careers of many associated with it, and all his invited guests had a part in the disaster. After giving Faith a tour of the magnificent house, Max reveals that it was the home of his mother’s wealthy family, who cast her off when she married beneath her. They continued to invite the younger Max to stay every year, but his visits had proved so awful they were practically abusive. Although two of his guests die before the party, the rest arrive on time. Can Faith figure out which of them harbors thoughts of murder before the deed is done?The mystery, though surprising enough, is outshone by family problems, detailed descriptions of the setting, and devilishly delicious food.
Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017
Page Count: 256
Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by James Patterson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 5, 2003
As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...
Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.
According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.
Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003
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