If it’s hard to wring new headlines from Nazi industrialists, Rosen uses this familiar background to tell a story as...

THE TENTH WITNESS

Years before the events of Henri Poincaré’s striking debut (All Cry Chaos, 2011), the future Interpol agent, now a consulting engineer, gets dragged into an equally grueling case when his treasure hunt turns into a Nazi hunt.

Lloyds of London, which was the insurer for the HMS Lutine when it sank off the Dutch coast in 1799, thinks it’s high time they recovered their settlement by plundering the boat, which is legally theirs, for its cargo of gold. Poincaré and his partner, Alec Chin, have successfully bid to construct a diving platform to be used in the operation. But Poincaré gets seriously redirected when he meets Liesel Kraus, a guide who pulls him out of the coastal mud flats and insists that he escort her to her brother Anselm’s birthday party to fend off the Bayer heir Anselm’s fixed her up with. Romance blossoms between Liesel and Poincaré, along with dark suspicions about the Kraus family’s steel empire, when Anselm, intent on jumping into the infant market for personal computers by recycling the precious metals used in their manufacture, engages Poincaré to develop a chemical process for isolating those metals. If Anselm and Liesel’s father, Otto, was really a Schindler-style hero during the war, as an affidavit signed by 10 concentration-camp survivors attests, then why are the signatories suddenly dying of heart attacks? And why is Liesel’s godfather, Viktor Schmidt, so eager to shut down Poincaré’s investigation into this case that isn’t even a case? Torn between his love for Liesel and his need to learn the truth about her family, Poincaré makes a series of discoveries that won’t surprise genre fans or anyone who stayed awake during history class.

If it’s hard to wring new headlines from Nazi industrialists, Rosen uses this familiar background to tell a story as heartfelt as it is ambitious.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-57962-319-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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