Next book


An irresistible popcorn chaser despite its slender mystery.

A sixth case for UCLA preservationist/film detective Valentino involves him more closely than any of its predecessors in the preservation and exhibition of an actual film.

Not that the film in question, Bleak Street, a 1957 production at RKO, then in the twilight of its own existence, is a real-life film. But Estleman’s loving enthusiasm for films noirs, efficiently channeled through his hero, will have you cheering for its resurrection when mysterious hotelier and philanthropist Ignacio Bozal swaps his copy of Greed for the only surviving print of Bleak Street and donates it to UCLA and rooting for Valentino’s attempts to get the print screened, which UCLA PR rep Henry Anklemire conditions on his ability to generate buzz around a 63-year-old film. The obvious angle to work is the disappearance of Van Oliver, the film’s star, shortly after the production wrapped. But as Valentino observes, “when it came to cold cases, Van Oliver’s was forty below zero.” And other complications quickly spring up along the way. Valentino’s longtime adversary Teddie Goodman announces that her boss, Supernova founder Mark David Turkus, has acquired the copyright to Bleak Street, forbidding UCLA or anyone else from screening it. A closer look at the print Bozal turned over indicates that it isn’t even Bleak Street but five reels of junk footage. And Valentino’s attempt to interview Oliver’s co-star, Ivy Lane, comes to grief when she dies the night before in a twist that morphs into a virtually self-contained short story. But Valentino, though shaken by his glimpses of someone who could be Oliver’s double, persists to an ending that includes the premiere of Bleak Street at Valentino’s newly opened Oracle theater and nearly 20 pages of appended lists of real-life books and movies aimed at film buffs who can’t get enough.

An irresistible popcorn chaser despite its slender mystery.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25835-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Next book


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

Next book


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

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 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Close Quickview