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Less playful and more labored than its predecessors but just as ingenious in working one twist after another in a case that...

The third case for Tokyo homicide detective Shunpei Kusanagi and professor Manabu Yukawa, who teaches physics at Imperial University, takes them far away from Tokyo—and far back from the present day as well.

Yukawa, aka Detective Galileo, has come to the Green Rock Inn, in the little resort town of Hari Cove, to participate in a discussion of proposed undersea mining. Everyone involved agrees that Hari Cove is in danger, but some see the enemy as potential environmental disaster, while others, alarmed by the town’s steep decline from its heyday, see the project as a potential economic savior. The morning after the conference, the body of Masatsugu Tsukahara, another guest of the inn, is discovered at the bottom of a sea cliff. The local police are eager to close the case as an accident, but the discovery that Tsukahara was retired from Tokyo homicide brings his former colleagues into the case, and they soon discover that he was already dead from carbon monoxide poisoning when he fell, or more likely was tossed, from the cliff. Further inquiries reveal that Tsukahara came to Hari Cove not for the mining conference but to seek out Hidetoshi Senba, a man he’d arrested 16 years earlier for the murder of an unemployed nightclub hostess. Kusanagi can’t help thinking that his path would be a lot smoother if only he could locate the missing ex-convict himself or if he could at least figure out what business Tsukahara had with him. Yukawa, for his part, seems interested mainly in constructing experiments designed to teach elementary concepts in physics to Kyohei, the fifth-grader whose parents have sent him to Hari Cove to stay with his uncle, Green Rock Innkeeper Shigehiro Kawahata, his aunt Setsuko, and his cousin Narumi. But it’s Yukawa, as usual (Salvation of a Saint, 2012, etc.), who’ll carry off the sleuthing honors.

Less playful and more labored than its predecessors but just as ingenious in working one twist after another in a case that seems absolutely twist-proof.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-02792-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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