From the Highland Spirits series , Vol. 3

An engaging and satisfying supernatural tale with Highland charm.

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Romance, murder, and ghosts cause mayhem in this mystery.

In this third volume of her Highland Spirits series, MacKinnon hands the starring role to Nesbitt General Hospital nurse Colleen “Fitz” Fitzgerald. When Colleen has her heart broken by the beguiling and duplicitous Dr. John Clayton and her career is unjustly trashed, she knows it is time to leave New Jersey for Inverness, Scotland, where her two best friends now live. Like Aubrey and Kate before her, Colleen takes up residence at Nessie’s boardinghouse. She finds herself in Nessie’s sitting room, under the scrutiny of the four “Owls,” guests who seem always to be around when one of the young women in the house faces turbulent times—Gladys Chesher; her son, Ronald; former dancer Maxine Deyeaux; and Old Harry Campbell. They are an eccentric group that has a sense of what lies ahead. This time, they bring Colleen good news. Harry has found her a job in a nursing home that has had a problem retaining staff. Evidently, Balfinnan House, a former castle, is haunted. But the position is perfect for Colleen. She specializes in geriatric patients and has always had a special rapport with them. Plus, Balfinnan House is owned and managed by the young and very handsome Graham Anderson. Unfortunately, there is also a malevolent entity prowling the halls. Patients are dying before their time. Readers new to the series will likely find themselves initially stumbling over the Scottish terminology that MacKinnon uses liberally in the early chapters. But there is a frontmatter glossary that proves to be most helpful. A healthy supply of secondary characters, including a few who make fine suspects, keeps the imaginative and entertaining narrative flowing at a good clip. And then there are the ever present spirits—the “Grey Lady,” the resident ghost of a World War I nurse, and the recently arrived, sinister “Ghruamachd,” who appears determined to prevent Gordon MacNabb from reaching his 100th birthday. Even after the murderer is revealed, the author holds one final surprise for the end, and it should leave readers chuckling.

An engaging and satisfying supernatural tale with Highland charm.

Pub Date: March 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-951490-54-6

Page Count: 374

Publisher: DartFrog Books

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2020


The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.

The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.

The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780316563765

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


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

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