Kicking off a cozy new series, prolific Johnston (Lost Under a Ladder, 2014, etc.) blends mystery and romantic intrigue....

BITE THE BISCUIT

A pet lover’s expansion of her bakery to feature dog-friendly treats sparks the ire of her small California town’s wealthiest family.

Longtime pet lover Carrie Kennersly’s dreams come true when she turns her Icing on the Cake bakery into two shops: Icing, specializing in the bakery’s traditional fare, and The Barkery, a bakery just for dogs. Though Carrie has been a longtime veterinary technician for the local clinic in Knobcone Heights, opening the dual bake shops means putting her tech work on a very part-time basis. Luckily, former bakery owner Brenda has left Carrie with two experienced and capable sidekicks to help run the shop, and Carrie can depend on her brother and roommate, Neal, to put in extra time taking care of her own pooch, Biscuit. Come opening day, Carrie feels the support from her long-standing vet clients but is surprised when Myra Ethman and her husband, Harris, show up engorged with bad blood. Sure, the two of them own the Knob Hill Pet Emporium, but that’s not the same type of store as the Barkery, and the old-money couple is hardly threatened by Carrie’s potential success. Carrie can’t help but be drawn into arguing with Myra. That’s unfortunate not because mean-tempered Myra doesn’t deserve it but because Myra later turns up dead next to one of Carrie’s specialized dog biscuits. To clear her own name, Carrie has to figure out who might have had reason to kill Myra, even though the deeper she digs, the more enemies she uncovers.

Kicking off a cozy new series, prolific Johnston (Lost Under a Ladder, 2014, etc.) blends mystery and romantic intrigue. Though the violence that occurs is brief, its abruptness may put off some readers.

Pub Date: May 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4503-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more