BRUSHBACK

Bobby Blasco was a star athlete in high school and went on to still greater success in pro baseball—even had a brief but remarkable stint in the majors—but he never had so many fans as now, when he's been found in an alley with his head bashed in by a Ted Williamsmodel Louisville Slugger. Bobby's latest girlfriend, Elaine Donatello, whose Protection From Abuse order against him had only goaded him to new heights of crass ingenuity, will finally be able to sleep through the night; so will his two ex-wives, who'd gotten PFA's of their own without having much protection to show for it. Even his former catcher, Rocksburg Gazette reporter Joe Barone, is eager to tell Acting Police Chief Rugs Carlucci what a monster Bobby B was. With the town practically ready to schedule a parade in lieu of Bobby's obsequies, there's no great urgency about tracking down his killer, and Carlucci can turn his attention to the really important things—like whether blandly scheming mayor Angelo Bellotti will ever appoint a new police chief, and whether Carlucci's demented mother will ever get off his case, and whether he'll ever find true love. Fans of Constantine's long-running Rocksburg saga (Family Values, 1997, etc.) will be pleased to see that even in this lesser entry, Carlucci not only solves the homicide—courtesy of an attorney who obligingly confesses on behalf of his client—but makes progress on those larger problems too.

Pub Date: March 12, 1998

ISBN: 0-89296-646-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

LONDON RULES

From the Slough House series , Vol. 6

Herron shows once again that the United Kingdom’s intelligence community is every bit as dysfunctional and alarmingly funny...

A new round of troubles for the slow horses of Slough House, where burned-out, compromised, or incompetent members of Her Majesty’s intelligence community have been banished (Spook Street, 2017, etc.), pits them against a group of terrorists who seem to be working from MI5’s own playbook.

It doesn’t usually make headlines when a crew of uniformed men efficiently murder a dozen inhabitants of an isolated village, but when the target is Abbotsfield, in the shadow of the Derbyshire hills, attention must be paid. The time-servers at Slough House, the last group anyone in the know would expect to get anywhere near this outrage, are roped into it when Shirley Dander celebrates her 62nd drug-free day by saving her colleague Roderick Ho from getting run down by a car. Flatulent Jackson Lamb, the head of the troops at Slough House, doesn’t believe Shirley’s story of attempted vehicular homicide, but even he changes his tune after a second attempt on Ho’s life kills an intruder whose corpse promptly disappears and police match the bullets found at the scene to one of the weapons used in the Abbotsfield massacre. When someone tosses a bomb into the penguin shelter in Dobsey Park and a second bomb is disabled before it can blow up a Paddington-bound train, alarm bells go off for J.K. Coe, the newest arrival to Slough House, who realizes (1) these outrages are all being perpetrated by the same team, (2) they’re following a blueprint originally conceived by the intelligence community, and (3) they still have several escalating chapters left to go. Just in case this all sounds uncomfortably menacing, a subplot concerning the threats posed to the nation’s security by a cross-dressing Brexit partisan is uncomfortably comical.

Herron shows once again that the United Kingdom’s intelligence community is every bit as dysfunctional and alarmingly funny as Bill James’ cops and robbers.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61695-961-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

TOTAL CONTROL

In a hugger-mugger attempt to follow up his bestselling Absolute Power (1996), Baldacci pits a young widow against corporate villains who want her silenced at all costs. When her husband Jason apparently dies in the crash of a jetliner bound from Washington to L.A., Sidney Archer's near- perfect world implodes. A high-powered attorney working on the latest merger planned by Triton Global (a high-tech multinational that employed Jason on hush-hush computer projects), she can't accept that the beloved father of her precocious little daughter Amy is dead. Sidney's subliminal faith is not misplaced. Jason, who had shopped his company's darkest secrets in an effort to make a quick financial killing, switched planes before takeoff and is alive but not well in Seattle. On the day of his funeral, Sidney hears from him via phone. She keeps her own counsel, but Lee Sawyer (an FBI agent assigned to the case) is suspicious because available evidence suggests that Jason not only sabotaged the downed aircraft but also engineered a megabuck embezzlement. Presciently, however, the missing man had encrypted his proof of Triton's misdeeds on a duplicate disk that he mailed to himself before disappearing. Eager to get a printout that could clear Jason, Sidney sets out on a roundabout odyssey that takes her from suburban Virgina to Manhattan and points north. Although Triton's corrupt CEO and his murderous, stop-at-nothing minions are on her trail, clever Sidney foils them at almost every turn. With help from a besotted Sawyer, the pistol-packin' mama also begins unraveling the mystery of her mate's vanishing act. In a violent climactic confrontation on the stormy coast of Maine, the two learn the truth about an immense conspiracy in which Jason's fate is but a sideshow. A talky, tedious tale of an unlikely heroine's desperate life on the run, longer on confusion than suspense or narrative coherence. (Main selection of the Literary Guild; $500,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 1997

ISBN: 0-446-52095-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1996

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