A worthy successor to Kilmoon (2014) in tone, mood, complexity, and keen insight into human failures and triumphs.



Murder comes in threes to a village in County Clare.

It’s hard for DS Danny Ahern to reassure his young son that the boy didn’t see the Grey Man, the legendary evil spirit that lives in the mist and sucks the life out of its victims. The child insists that he saw the spirit dragging someone past the house. Danny almost becomes a believer when a nameless teenage boy found in a pasture dies in his arms. Trained in hardheaded police work, Danny still wonders when he sees sparrows taking flight; the local myth is that they’re soul bearers. Nor can he shake the feeling that worse is yet to come. It should be a happy time: it’s the September Matchmaking Festival, which turns his village of Lisfenora into a tourist attraction every year and brings locals and strangers to Liam the Matchmaker. Liam’s assisted by his American daughter, Merrit Chase, still an outsider a year after her first meeting with Liam. Now someone’s painted “slag” on her car in magenta, a reference to the part Merrit supposedly played in Danny’s separation from his wife. The owner of a high-end gift store also complains about graffiti, but with the murder of Lost Boy on his hands, Danny has no time for vandalism. Dermot McNamara and his sister, Gemma, may have some answers. They’ve come to the village to find John McIlvoy, the stepfather who killed their mother. Gemma, who witnessed the murder, has been selectively mute ever since. Dermot claims that Lost Boy was the cousin who was helping them find McIlvoy, the designer of a pendant and a pair of earrings that are key to the case. Before Danny can figure out why, his foreboding comes true with two more homicides and a tangle of blackmail, betrayal, and revenge.

A worthy successor to Kilmoon (2014) in tone, mood, complexity, and keen insight into human failures and triumphs.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4896-2

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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


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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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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