Sterling prose and captivating characters enhance a topical mystery with surprising undertones out of Dan Brown.



A missing dog, a series of break-ins, and several dangerous gangs provide a jam-packed agenda for Melbourne baker/sleuth Corinna Chapman and Daniel Cohen, her tall, dark, handsome, and dangerous Israeli lover.

The delightfully laid-back Corinna (Cooking the Books, 2012, etc.) and her talented apprentice, reformed junkie Jason, are up early baking for her shop, Earthly Delights, when retired Sgt. Alastair Sinclair arrives and swiftly collapses, but not before showing Corinna a note from her friend Sister Mary saying that Daniel will be able to help him. Sinclair is haunted and exhausted by the loss of Geordie, the sniffing dog companion who served with him in Afghanistan. Unable to fathom a reason for his having been attacked and Geordie stolen, he’s come to Daniel for help while Sister Mary has people out on the streets searching. Daniel uses all his connections as a Mossad agent in search of Geordie and the reason for his dognapping. Meanwhile, the peace of Insula—Corinna’s unusual apartment house, where mostly charming tenants enjoy spending time sharing food and drink in the magnificent roof garden—is disturbed when the panic alarm goes off in the apartment of professor Monk, a biblical scholar whose neighbors arrive to help guard a captured thief until the police arrive. The putative thief is a young man, a Catholic religious fanatic looking for something he thinks Monk possesses that belongs to the church. When a ninjalike figure breaks into Corinna’s home, she furiously attacks him with her umbrella before he manages to knock her out. It’s possible that one of the rival gangs may have dognapped Geordie for his sniffing abilities, but Corinna and Daniel are puzzled by the apparently unrelated break-ins. Their sophisticated and ditzy friends, from witches to spies, are lovingly portrayed along with a bounty of food and drink, all sizzling under the summer sun.

Sterling prose and captivating characters enhance a topical mystery with surprising undertones out of Dan Brown.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4642-1117-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet