Walker’s latest is replete with incident, but like the frequent dinners his hero prepares for friends, paying guests, and...

A TASTE FOR VENGEANCE

A promotion comes with a host of challenges for the Périgord region’s Bruno Courrèges (The Templar’s Last Secret, 2017, etc.).

As chief of police for the tiny Dordogne village of St. Denis, Bruno used to serve more as a town policeman, going to the square on market days to kiss the babies and chat with their grandmères. He even had time to coach the local women’s rugby team. But now that he’s been promoted to chief of police of the entire Vézère Valley, he’s facing the challenges that come with greater responsibility. He needs to ride herd on Louis, the town policeman in Montignac, who spends too much time in the local bars, and to mentor young, ambitious Juliette Robard, who just replaced the sole policewoman in Les Eyzies. He also needs to negotiate the unorthodox chain of command in rural France. Prunier, the commissaire de police for the Dordogne département, thinks that Bruno now works for him, but the Mayor of St. Denis is convinced that Bruno is still his subordinate. Bruno’s delicate calculations about whom he reports to and who reports to him become all the more stressful when an Englishwoman is found dead in Lalinde, definitely outside his old remit in St. Denis. Monika Felder left Gatwick for France to take a cooking course offered by Bruno’s friends Pamela and Miranda but never arrived. Her body is discovered in a cabin belonging to Patrick James McBride, a mysterious Irishman who owns a local vineyard and whose travels to Amsterdam, Florence, and Dubai suggest that he’s not a typical French winemaker. And if adjusting to his new role and solving his latest case weren’t enough, Bruno finds out that Paulette, a star of his rugby team with a decent shot at making the national squad, is unexpectedly pregnant.

Walker’s latest is replete with incident, but like the frequent dinners his hero prepares for friends, paying guests, and the occasional visiting FBI agent, its abundance seems just one more testimony to the richness of the region.

Pub Date: June 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51996-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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