Mardi Gras Madness

Private investigator Luke Jacobs exposes a chilling corporate conspiracy while seeking to free a jailed lawyer friend in this latest installment of a New Orleans mystery series by Mask (The French Quarter, 2013, etc.).

Luke is excited. A key witness has come out of the woodwork, which may help his quest to free Jake Matos, a lawyer pal convicted of killing a cop after being pulled over by police over four years ago. The PI then gets a mystery summons to a meeting about Jake, only to encounter a threatening henchman. Visiting Jake in jail, Luke senses the lawyer is hiding something, perhaps scared into silence. Luke breaks into Jake’s house and finds some odd microscope slides. He asks Melvin Jenkins, a retired forensic pathologist, to examine the materials. While awaiting these findings, Luke pieces together that Jake was pursuing cases that may have posed major problems for mogul Fred Von Tepp and his Mega Alcohol Network. With further assists from his hot doctor girlfriend, a sexy Latina forensics student, a Times-Picayune journalist, a NASA scientist, and others, Luke finally exposes the stunning secret that led to a big business cover-up, police corruption, and Jake’s wrongful conviction. The Louisiana-based Mask clearly revels in his New Orleans setting. He includes loving descriptions of bayous, gardens and bars, and he presents a hip, bantering cast of racially diverse characters that reflects his city’s party spirit and melting-pot status. Mask’s core mystery also had potential as an inventive, alcoholic counterpart to tobacco company–like malfeasance. Unfortunately, the author is a bit of a victim of his own exuberance. He tosses up too many Mardi Gras beads and too many characters and subplots that are digressive or underdeveloped or both, which takes a toll on the logic and clarity of key aspects of the story. He also provides too little explanatory detail for people who haven’t read the earlier Luke Jacobs books. And while Mask’s syncopated rhythm has its pleasures, many readers may feel exhausted rather than energized by this rollicking yet tangled tale. Jazz-beat crime fiction that riffs on Big Easy flavor at the expense of a fully coherent plot.


Pub Date: June 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1456621698

Page Count: 108


Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2014

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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