The heroine’s eighth case uses a clever whodunit to treat contemporary issues with complexity and compassion.

THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE

A pair of arsons and a handful of murders lead investigators into the dark world of young Swedish neo-Nazis.

Upon retiring from the Violent Crimes Unit, veteran detective Ann Lindell leaves Uppsala for a rural cottage where she plans to make cheese. But when an anonymous caller warns police that “someone may die,” Lindell’s successor, Sammy Nilsson, decides to consult her. In the interim, a rural school attended by many Afghan refugees is burned to the ground, and some students go missing. Was this the subject of the anonymous call? As usual, Eriksson folds the lives of his engaging detectives into the mystery. A disillusioned Sammy contemplates separation from his wife, Angelika, and deals with his erratic new partner, Bodin, while Lindell rekindles a friendship with her ex, Edvard. Eriksson’s nuanced portraits of suspects and witnesses add depth and texture. Villager Gösta Friberg recognizes one of the arsonists, and a couple of others have strong suspicions. Falsely telling Sammy that she can’t identify the caller, Lindell decides to probe on her own. Soon after she questions Gösta and others, a dead badger is left gutted in her bed. When she goes to the city to question Justus Johsson, the man on the tape, he advises her to investigate young Swedish Nazis. Then there’s a second fire at a farmhouse owned by suspected Nazi Daniel Mattsson. A female corpse is discovered inside the burned house, but where is Mattsson?

The heroine’s eighth case uses a clever whodunit to treat contemporary issues with complexity and compassion.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-25-076614-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

OCEAN PREY

No oceans in Minnesota, you say? That won’t stop Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, who are clearly determined to burn through their bucket list on the federal government’s dime.

The murders of three Coast Guard officers chasing a suspicious boat in Florida waters by crooks who set fire to the boat moments after abandoning it send shock waves through the DEA, the FBI, and eventually the U.S. Marshals Service. In short order Lucas and his colleague and pal Bob Matees find themselves on a task force Florida Sen. Christopher Colles convenes to find the drugs the fugitives managed to dump into the Atlantic before they shot their pursuers and arrest everyone in sight. The duo’s modus operandi seems to be to talk to everyone who’s seen anything, and then talk to everyone they’ve mentioned, and so on, taking regular breaks to drink, reminisce, and swap wisecracks. Everything is so relaxed and routine that fans of this long-running series will just know that Sandford has something more up his sleeve, and he does. Eventually the task force’s net widens to make room for Virgil, who, working with Marshal Rae Givens, hires himself out to the criminals as a diver who can retrieve those drugs while Lucas and his allies work their way higher and higher up the food chain of baddies. The cast is enormous and mostly forgettable, but Sandford manages to work up a full head of steam when Lucas realizes that his scorched-earth tactics have put Virgil and Rae in serious danger.

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-08702-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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