Par for the series: canny plotting, tight prose, swift tempo.

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ONE SHOT

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 9

Reacher’s back and Child’s got him tracking a complex case, springing surprises and dispatching a nasty crew in a punishing finish.

For number nine in the Jack Reacher series, author Child (The Enemy, 2004, etc.) dispatches his singular hero to Indiana, where a sniper has just taken out five victims as they headed home on a Friday afternoon. Evidence at the scene—notably, a shell case and a quarter bearing the same fingerprints—seems to clinch the case against James Barr, a former Army Infantry sniper. He’s arrested but insists he’s the wrong man: “Get Jack Reacher for me,” he says. But the game is not quite afoot. Instead of clearing Barr, Reacher wants to convict him. Years ago, it seems, Reacher was an investigating MP when Barr, in an attack very similar to the Indiana shootout, shot and killed four people in Kuwait City. Twisted military politics, however, intervened in the case and Barr walked free. Reacher vowed revenge. But now Barr’s sister Rosemary, convinced of her brother’s innocence, entreats lawyer Helen Rodin to take the case—a case that Rodin’s father, the district attorney, will prosecute. The suspect, alas, recovering from a prison beating that has left him suffering from amnesia, offers little information to help his plight. Still, Helen and Rosemary grab at straws, and, sifting through their clues in a keen, fascinating analysis, Reacher concludes Barr really is innocent. Who, then, set up Barr as the sniper? And who is trying to get Reacher off the case? Is it the Russian gang that’s been shadowing him since he arrived in town? Who’s behind the thugs who tried to work over Reacher when he left a local sports bar? Are they also behind the murder of a woman Reacher met there? Child caps his steadily building narrative with a gonzo action scene that seems a little heavy for Indiana.

Par for the series: canny plotting, tight prose, swift tempo.

Pub Date: June 21, 2005

ISBN: 0-385-33668-3

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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