A must-read for fans of Zadie Smith and Call the Midwife.

THIS LOVELY CITY

In Hare’s engrossing debut, a young Jamaican man’s promising new life in post–World War II London threatens to unravel after he becomes a suspect in the death of a mixed-race infant.

The lovely city that Lawrie Matthews expected when he arrived in 1948 onboard the Empire Windrush, along with several hundred other Caribbean immigrants responding to Britain’s call for labor, turned out to be a war-ravaged metropolis “still too poor to clean itself up.” But after two years, he is starting to feel at home despite the cold, gloomy atmosphere and humiliating racial slights. Renting a tiny room in Brixton, postman Lawrie moonlights as a jazz musician in Soho clubs, supplementing his income with black-market deliveries—rationing is still in effect—for his landlady’s son. He also loves the girl next door, 18-year-old Evie Coleridge, the biracial daughter of the embittered white Agnes and an unknown black father. Life is good until the March morning when Lawrie discovers the body of a black child in a pond in Clapham Common. While the police quickly dismiss the other witness, a white woman walking her dog, Lawrie is harshly interrogated by the openly racist DS Rathbone. “Between you and me, I don’t give two shits....Too many of you around here already, but the law is the law.” He’s determined to find the culprit, and whether it’s Lawrie or someone else in the growing West Indian community makes no difference to him. Toggling between 1948 and 1950, Hare’s absorbing narrative builds a compelling portrait of immigrants struggling to belong to a country that needs but doesn’t really want them. Lawrie and Evie are so moving in their tender love for each other that readers will root for them to overcome the many heart-wrenching plot twists.

A must-read for fans of Zadie Smith and Call the Midwife.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4870-0705-8

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Anansi Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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