Synthetic as all get-out, from the scenes with Mary’s oh-so-Italian family to the unlikely events that bring about the...

FEARED

It had to happen sooner or later: Philadelphia’s premier, mostly female legal partnership, Rosato and DiNunzio, gets sued for sex discrimination.

Just because Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, and Judy Carrier have hired John Foxman as an associate doesn’t mean they can’t be sued by Stephen McManus, Michael Battle, and Graham Madden, who claim that they’re not willing to turn the firm any more male than it is. Nick Machiavelli, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, has gotten evidence that John’s felt like an outsider while he’s on the job, and since Machiavelli is already holding a grudge against Mary, that’s good enough for him. Beginning with the accusatory press conference he convenes, things rapidly go from bad to worse. John quits the firm, leaving Judy to carry the ball alone in pressing their little-guy client London Technologies’ case against superrival Home Hacks. Then he gets himself murdered, and Detective Jason Krakoff, of Philadelphia Homicide, quickly ascertains that Judy had been dating John until they broke up, within the hearing of witnesses, an hour or two before the murder. The London Technologies plaintiffs start wavering; the partners can’t turn on the television without seeing Machiavelli crow; a predatory freelance reporter starts dogging the heroines; and Judy looks dead in the water—though Scottoline (Exposed, 2017, etc.) finds little time to develop those last two possibilities because she’s preoccupied with tracing the effects of all this stress on Mary’s late-term pregnancy. Not even a mother’s love could triumph over the dark doings laid out with such professional relish—or so you’d think if you didn’t know the formula, which dictates a sudden late-breaking turn from incredibly bad luck to incredibly good.

Synthetic as all get-out, from the scenes with Mary’s oh-so-Italian family to the unlikely events that bring about the amazingly happy ending. But Scottoline, who obviously knows her readers inside out, hits every mark, and the results are never less than pleasurable, down to the last satisfying twist.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-09959-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

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LONG RANGE

Once again, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets mixed up in a killing whose principal suspect is his old friend Nate Romanowski, whose attempts to live off the grid keep breaking down in a series of felony charges.

If Judge Hewitt hadn’t bent over to pick up a spoon that had fallen from his dinner table, the sniper set up nearly a mile from his house in the gated community of the Eagle Mountain Club would have ended his life. As it was, the victim was Sue Hewitt, leaving the judge alive and free to rail and threaten anyone he suspected of the shooting. Incoming Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Brendan Kapelow’s interest in using the case to promote his political ambitions and the judge’s inability to see further than his nose make them the perfect targets for a frame-up of Nate, who just wants to be left alone in the middle of nowhere to train his falcons and help his bride, Liv Brannon, raise their baby, Kestrel. Nor are the sniper, the sheriff, and the judge Nate’s only enemies. Orlando Panfile has been sent to Wyoming by the Sinaloan drug cartel to avenge the deaths of the four assassins whose careers Nate and Joe ended last time out (Wolf Pack, 2019). So it’s up to Joe, with some timely data from his librarian wife, Marybeth, to hire a lawyer for Nate, make sure he doesn’t bust out of jail before his trial, identify the real sniper, who continues to take an active role in the proceedings, and somehow protect him from a killer who regards Nate’s arrest as an unwelcome complication. That’s quite a tall order for someone who can’t shoot straight, who keeps wrecking his state-issued vehicles, and whose appalling mother-in-law, Missy Vankeuren Hand, has returned from her latest European jaunt to suck up all the oxygen in Twelve Sleep County to hustle some illegal drugs for her cancer-stricken sixth husband. But fans of this outstanding series will know better than to place their money against Joe.

One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53823-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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