Though the level of inspiration in individual stories varies widely, every fan will find different reasons to cheer. And...

ECHOES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

STORIES INSPIRED BY THE HOLMES CANON

“Inspired” is the key word here, for contributors have been encouraged to interpret their remit even more broadly than in the editors’ previous two collections (In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, 2014, etc.).

John Connolly sets the tone by confronting Holmes and Watson, enshrined in a magical library after Holmes’ death, with their inferior post-Reichenbach avatars. David Morrell, Jonathan Maberry, and William Kent Krueger walk similar metafictional tightropes when they arrange debates between Arthur Conan Doyle and a spectral Holmes over spiritualism, bring C. Auguste Dupin to console Watson at Holmes’ empty grave, and present a child-psychologist Watson providing therapy to a boy who believes he’s Sherlock Holmes. Other contributors briskly update the Great Detective. Meg Gardiner’s sleuth investigates a breach in computer security; Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Annabelle Holmes follows a trail of pictogram emails to a missing fiancee; Gary Phillips’ Sherlock, in a rayon shirt and bell-bottoms, investigates the assassination of an iconic civil rights leader; Cory Doctorow explores the problem of a conscience-driven leaker of secret intelligence. Meanwhile, back in the Victorian era, Tasha Alexander sketches a deft and funny prequel to “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Dana Cameron’s free-wheeling Watson recounts Holmes’ search for a hidden legacy, and Tony Lee and Bevis Musson give Mrs. Hudson a thimble-sized comic-book case more notable for visual style than narrative invention. Sherlock is channeled by Catriona McPherson’s lady’s maid, Deborah Crombie’s cheeky goddaughter Sherry Watson, Anne Perry’s TV Holmes, Denise Mina’s not-a-witch Shirley, and Michael Scott’s Dublin madam, who assists the police in their investigation of a celebrated real-life theft. Although most of these tales are more notable for their high concepts than the ways they’re worked out, Hallie Ephron’s tale of a movie actress who once played Irene Adler and is now understudying a much younger Irene is a delight from beginning to end.

Though the level of inspiration in individual stories varies widely, every fan will find different reasons to cheer. And they’ll all marvel at the inventive range of this salute to the greatest of all fictional detectives.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68177-225-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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

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As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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