Not to worry. Rachel does it all: from her fine first-half detective work to her routine, overextended courtroom duty. Next...

KILLER AMBITION

An amateur kidnapping suddenly turned lethal poses a third case for Deputy District Attorney Rachel Knight, of LA’s Special Crimes Unit (Guilt by Degrees, 2012, etc.).

It’s obvious from the get-go who snatched megabucks Hollywood producer Russell Antonovich’s teenage daughter Hayley. All the evidence leads straight to her boyfriend, Brian Shandling. Pleasing complications follow anyway, though they’re not so pleasing for Rachel or her friend Bailey Keller, the robbery/homicide detective who lands the case when Antonovich pays the $1 million ransom and his daughter’s not returned. Item: Brian Shandling doesn’t exist; the boyfriend stole his identity from a long-dead infant. Item: Hayley was almost certainly in on her own kidnapping. Item: Both Hayley and Brian have paid the ultimate price for their little plot, stabbed to death miles from the ransom drop-off point, presumably by someone who got wind of their scheme and stepped in to rewrite the rules. Doing her best to roll with each punch, Rachel follows the forensics to a new pair of suspects and has them arrested, tossing the case into court, where Murphy’s Law prevails. When new evidence exonerates one of the two suspects of the actual murders, Rachel reduces the charges against him, and he promptly makes bail and disappears. Jury selection favors nasty defense attorney Terry Fisk. So do the invidious rulings of Judge Osterman. Rachel’s star witness gets impeached on the stand. The most sympathetic of the jurors has to discontinue her service. Desperate, Rachel goes behind her boss’s back to hire a very iffy consultant, knowing that if she loses the case, she’ll get fired.

Not to worry. Rachel does it all: from her fine first-half detective work to her routine, overextended courtroom duty. Next time, she’ll probably be judge, jury and executioner too.

Pub Date: June 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-22094-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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