Despite its epic length, Higashino keeps his world remarkably claustrophobic, scattering just enough references to movies,...

UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN

Higashino leaves behind the increasingly weighty cases of Detective Galileo (A Midsummer’s Equation, 2016, etc.) for an even more daunting stand-alone that traces the fallout of an unsolved murder through nearly two decades.

Yosuke Kirihara is found in an abandoned building a kilometer away from the Osaka home that doubled as his pawnshop, stabbed five times. His wife, Yaeko, would be the obvious suspect even if she weren’t a former escort a generation younger than her husband, but Detective Junzo Sasagaki can find no evidence against her. He focuses instead on Fumiyo Nishimoto, a customer whose home in Yoshida Heights Kirihara had visited shortly before his death, but Fumiyo provides an alibi—though Tadao Terasaki, the lover who provides it, is killed in a car crash—and the case fades away. So, for quite a while, does Sasagaki; instead, Higashino follows the lives of two children involved in the case, Kirihara’s 10-year-old son, Ryo, and his customer’s young daughter, Yukiho. As they make their ways through adolescence and into adulthood, corruption begins slowly and steadily to take its toll on Ryo and Yukiho. He drifts into a life of pimping his male school friends and stealing computer-game software before it can be copyrighted; she’s adopted by elegant Reiko Karasawa when her mother dies and, blossoming into fatal beauty, drifts through a series of fraught friendships and romances, one of which ends in an equally fraught marriage. All the while, Sasagaki, his efforts supplemented by those of private investigator Satoshi Imaeda, keeps an unobtrusive eye on the two surviving children, preparing to close the case, though many readers will long since have anticipated his unsparing climactic revelations.

Despite its epic length, Higashino keeps his world remarkably claustrophobic, scattering just enough references to movies, current events, and first-generation home computers to let you know where the lead characters, aging but powerless to change, stand as the story rolls toward its bleakly preordained end.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-10579-0

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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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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As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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