A cinematic but refreshingly unsentimental take on the classic Western, starring a woman who is no romantic heroine, but a...

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THE OUTCASTS

After two novels re-imagining the history of her own New England ancestors (The Heretic’s Daughter, 2008; The Traitor's Wife (originally entitled The Wolves of Andover, 2010)), Kent turns her attention to post–Civil War Texas, where law and morality are far more elastic.

In 1870, Lucinda Carter steals away (steal being the operative word) from the Fort Worth brothel where she’s worked in semi-slavery as a prostitute. But do not expect her to have a heart of gold. Despite the occasional seizures she hides from most of her clients, she is tough, conniving and deadly when necessary. Having procured a teaching position under false pretenses, she heads to Middle Bayou, Texas, where legend has it that the pirate Lafitte buried his gold and where she hopes to meet up with her secret lover. Meanwhile, young Oklahoman Nate Cannon joins the Texas police force and is assigned to work with veteran Rangers George Deerling and Tom Goddard. As Lucinda manipulates her way into the hearts of her new employers, a community of former land and slave owners from the Deep South, Nate and the Rangers track ruthless killer William McGill. Goddard, a former medical student with an intellectual bent, takes Nate under his wing, but Nate finds he needs to prove himself to the more coldblooded Deerling. Shortly after Deerling finally accepts Nate and confides that he once had a daughter he mistreated, the experienced Ranger is killed by one of McGill’s henchmen. Goddard tells Nate that he loved and married Deerling’s daughter, although, as a child, she was permanently damaged by her father’s decision to place her in an asylum for her epilepsy. She ran off while pregnant, and Goddard does not know what happened to their child, but his wife has become Lucinda. After McGill and Lucinda’ Middle Bayou plans go awry and Nate and Goddard close in, all hell breaks loose.

A cinematic but refreshingly unsentimental take on the classic Western, starring a woman who is no romantic heroine, but a definite survivor.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20612-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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