A slow-motion nightmare notable for its evocation of febrile adolescent fantasies whose power extends well into adulthood.

SUMMER OF RECKONING

YA author Brunet’s first adult novel and first appearance in English, winner of the 2018 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, chronicles the fateful summer when the world of a pair of Provencal schoolgirl sisters is detonated from within.

Once she realizes that she’s pregnant, Céline Gomez  knows she can’t expect help from her father, Manuel, the boss of a construction crew whose first impulse, as usual, is to beat her; or from her mother, Séverine, who bore Céline herself as a teenager and can’t get over the fact that her daughter is repeating her mistake; or from the teachers and classmates who stand by ready to judge her; or from the attractive man who fantasizes about photographing his seduction of a pregnant teen. The only person who’s supportive is her plain-Jane sister, Johanna, who’s always looked out for Céline even though she’s a year younger than her beautiful sister. As the summer months swell Céline’s belly and test the bond between the sisters, Manuel, taking his daughter’s disgrace as only the latest setback in a life full of them, seethes because he can’t identify the father. Then one night, while his daughters are at a party their mother has forbidden Céline from attending, he suddenly has an opportunity to take terrible revenge on the man he thinks is responsible. As his old mate and co-worker Patrick Bardin stands by in horror, he drunkenly, methodically beats the man to death and works feverishly to hide his body. Manuel’s choice of victim couldn’t be more ironic, and the murder is both shocking and inevitable. Even more ironic is the sequel, which finds Céline being rushed to the hospital months before the baby is due, Séverine telling off the social worker who’s been sent to help Céline, and the family proceeding very much as before, but now laden with an intolerable burden of guilt and shame.

A slow-motion nightmare notable for its evocation of febrile adolescent fantasies whose power extends well into adulthood.

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-912242-26-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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THE BLACK ECHO

Big, brooding debut police thriller by Los Angeles Times crime-reporter Connelly, whose labyrinthine tale of a cop tracking vicious bank-robbers sparks and smolders but never quite catches fire. Connelly shows off his deep knowledge of cop procedure right away, expertly detailing the painstaking examination by LAPD homicide detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch of the death-scene of sometime junkie Billy Meadows, whom Bosch knew as a fellow "tunnel rat" in Vietnam and who's now o.d.'d in an abandoned water tunnel. Pushing Meadows's death as murder while his colleagues see it as accidental, Bosch, already a black sheep for his vigilante-like ways, further alienates police brass and is soon shadowed by two nastily clownish Internal Affairs cops wherever he goes—even to FBI headquarters, which Bosch storms after he learns that the Bureau had investigated him for a tunnel-engineered bank robbery that Meadows is implicated in. Assigned to work with beautiful, blond FBI agent Eleanor Wish, who soon shares his bed in an edgy alliance, Bosch comes to suspect that the robbers killed Meadows because the vet pawned some of the loot, and that their subsequent killing of the only witness to the Meadows slaying points to a turned cop. But who? Before Bosch can find out, a trace on the bank-robbery victims points him toward a fortune in smuggled diamonds and the likelihood of a second heist—leading to the blundering death of the IAD cops, the unveiling of one bad cop, an anticipated but too-brief climax in the L.A. sewer tunnels, and, in a twisty anticlimax, the revelation of a second rotten law officer. Swift and sure, with sharp characterizations, but at heart really a tightly wrapped package of cop-thriller cliches, from the hero's Dirty Harry persona to the venal brass, the mad-dog IAD cops, and the not-so-surprising villains. Still, Connelly knows his turf and perhaps he'll map it more freshly next time out.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 1992

ISBN: 0-316-15361-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1991

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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