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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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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