Though sometimes there’s so much going on that you lose sight of the high-stakes main event, Garrett continues to build an...

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HOLLYWOOD ENDING

An oddly assembled crew digs into the depths of Hollywood’s elite in an effort to solve crimes for cash.

Still savoring the sweet taste of success from her last case, which netted her $1,000 (Hollywood Homicide, 2018), Dayna Anderson’s ready to continue her crime-solving streak. Or, at the very least, her money-earning streak, which is especially welcome since she hasn’t worked as an actress since her Chubby’s Chicken commercial almost two years ago. Dayna’s near-accidental path as an amateur detective and bounty hunter for the LAPD tip line is bolstered by her friendship with uncharismatic, unromantic Aubrey S. Adams-Parker, an ex-cop who backs up Dayna’s Hollywood hunches with law and order. The real fun begins when Dayna teams up with her friends as sidekicks. Sienna’s determined to make it as an Instagram star; Emme’s a computer whiz with maybe too much time on her hands. Dayna’s latest case is the fatal shooting of Lyla Davis, a publicist for the Silver Sphere Organization. While Lyla’s death looks like collateral damage in an ATM holdup, Dayna’s savvy and digging suggest that someone could have wanted to keep a secret Lyla was in on. Dayna knows Hollywood secrets all too well. After all, she’s been living one ever since she hooked up with childhood friend Omari Grant, whose publicist doesn’t want it getting around that Omari’s with some average girl. But Dayna’s sleuthing and ad hoc team make her anything but average, and she cuts to the truth around Lyla’s death quickly but without thinking about the ramifications that secrets kill.

Though sometimes there’s so much going on that you lose sight of the high-stakes main event, Garrett continues to build an appealingly quirky crime-solving team.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7387-5297-6

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

CROOKED RIVER

FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).

Imagine Florida beachcombers’ shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot’s amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where “something terrible was happening” in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is “a most baffling case indeed” for the brilliant Pendergast, but it’s the type of problem he thrives on. He’s hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he’s part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his “extraordinarily beautiful,” smart, and sarcastic young “ward” who has “eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing.” Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and “every inch a Fed.” Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.

Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4725-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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

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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