Walker’s latest Bruno adventure has a lighter touch than earlier entries but offers as pleasing a puzzle as any.

St. Denis chief of police Bruno Courrèges (The Children Return, 2015, etc.) turns his attention from cabbages to cars.

The Concours de Élégance brings a bevy of classic beauties to the Périgord. Jack Crimson dusts off his Jaguar Mark 2. Horst, a German architect, helps his friend Clothilde emerge from her Porsche Speedster. Bruno’s friend Annette sits at the wheel of her Jaguar S-type, her English friend George Young beside her. Sylvestre Wémy drives his Bugatti from Marckolsheim. Fabiola shows off her Renault Zoe electric car, and town councilor Alphonse drives a Kango. But none of these automotive wonders can hold a candle to the Bugatti Type 57C, known as the Atlantic. Only four of the cars were ever produced: one is owned by Ralph Lauren, one was destroyed, one is in a California museum, and the fourth was lost in World War II while being driven across France. Since the Atlantic’s path would have taken it through Périgord, and arguably near St. Denis, the car aficionados’ interests are piqued. At the peak of all piques are Sylvestre and George Young, and their dogged curiosity makes Bruno wonder just how far they might go to track down the car of their dreams. Bruno has other things on his mind. Young Félix, son of a local cleaning lady, is caught shoplifting, someone wings a pebble at a horseback rider, and elderly historical researcher Henri-Pierre Hugon is found dead in his study. Plus, the always-indispensible lunar almanac tells Bruno when it’s time to plant, and his neighbors’ daughter, Martine, provides a delightful distraction all her own. But the lost Atlantic keeps drifting through his inner landscape until murder gives its disappearance a new urgency.

Walker’s latest Bruno adventure has a lighter touch than earlier entries but offers as pleasing a puzzle as any.

Pub Date: June 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-94678-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016


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


As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...

Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.

According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.

As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-60290-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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