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GATED PREY

The seamy side of California dreaming.

A rash of cases sends Detective Eve Ronin, of the LA Sheriff’s Department, into the gated communities of Calabasas, which trap the homeowners with all the evils they were meant to protect them from.

The tale begins with a string of home invasion robberies Eve and her partner, almost-retired Duncan Pavone, have gone undercover to solve. Masquerading as a wealthy couple in order to lure the thieves into targeting them, they succeed all too well, and soon they have three dead bodies to answer for. The LASD gives a medal to Grayson Mumford, the young grocery store guard who shot runaway thief Paul Colter, but makes it clear to Eve that her stock among her colleagues has plummeted even as her flashy style has encouraged scriptwriter Simone Harper to write the pilot for a TV series based on her exploits. Before Eve can get too preoccupied with either shunning she doesn’t deserve or fame she doesn’t want, a routine call to the home of Anna McCaig, who’s just delivered a stillborn child, swiftly escalates to a case of murder. Just to keep the plot boiling, Eve learns that she’s being sued for $10 million by the family of a bent deputy who claims she drove him to suicide at the end of her last case. Will the department, which is also named in the suit, have her back, or will they cut her loose and let her twist slowly in the wind? Against all odds, Goldberg not only ties up most of the loose ends, leaving just a few deliberately dangling, but links some of Eve’s investigations in ways as disturbing as they are surprising.

The seamy side of California dreaming.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2934-6

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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THE BURNING

A brutal, gripping look at murder in a self-enclosed community with many secrets to hide.

When two police officers stop for a bit of dalliance, screams from the nearby woods introduce them to a puzzling and horrifying murder.

Chuck Skidmore and Mona Kurtz don’t arrive in time to rescue a man who’s being burned at the stake, a sight that will haunt their dreams. Police Chief Kate Burkholder arrives on the scene with her husband, John Tomasetti, an agent of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who’ll join her and many other cops in a task force investigating the bizarre murder. Born Amish, Kate ran away from Painters Mill, found her vocation in law enforcement, and eventually came home as the police department’s chief. Over the years, she’s built up some trust with the local Amish community, who generally prefer to keep their problems to themselves. The victim is Milan Swanz, a troubled former schoolmate of Kate’s whom she’s arrested several times. A divorced man with four children, he’d been recently excommunicated by the Amish. Although Milan was far from popular, Kate meets a wall of silence from even her own brother, one of many people who had disputes with the hot-tempered man. Kate’s theory of the crime, based on stories in a book popular with the Amish, is so bizarre that she has trouble believing it herself. When her brother is arrested, she’s removed from the task force but continues to investigate, putting her in the sights of some very determined killers.

A brutal, gripping look at murder in a self-enclosed community with many secrets to hide.

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781250781116

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2024

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