A detective story whose dramatic trajectory is marked less by its rising suspense than by the increasingly elaborate meals...

Lt. Bruno Courrèges asks how a visiting American student could have ended up in a well in the peaceful, yet strangely homicidal, Périgord village of St. Denis.

All too soon after she’s reported missing, Bruno finds Claudia Muller, an art history Ph.D. student at Yale, in a disused well in the courtyard of the Limeuil castle along with a cat who’s lucky enough to still be alive. Did cat-loving Claudia climb into the inadequately protected well to rescue the animal and end up tumbling in herself? Was she impaired by the drugs in her system? Or did someone deliberately toss her in? Suspicion quickly focuses on two men: Laurent Darrignac, the falconer who met and befriended her the very day he was released from a 10-year prison sentence for killing three Boy Scouts in a drunken driving accident, and Pierre de Bourdeille, the legendary art expert with whom Claudia had been working. On the face of it, both choices seem impossible: Laurent, who professed sincere repentance for the accident that jailed him, had clearly been attached to Claudia, and it’s not obvious how de Bourdeille, a 90-something-year-old disabled by the bullet that made him a hero of the Resistance and confined for years to a wheelchair, would have had either the temperament or the physical ability to commit the crime. But the case is complicated by the news that Claudia had questioned some of her mentor’s attributions, striking at his formidable reputation, and de Bourdeille’s plan to leave his collection to the town of St. Denis, depriving his longtime housekeeper, Nathalie Bonnet, of the inheritance she’d grown to expect. Walker weaves the details of Bruno’s unruffled investigation together with all the obligatory social rituals fans of the series (A Taste for Vengeance, 2018, etc.) have come to expect.

A detective story whose dramatic trajectory is marked less by its rising suspense than by the increasingly elaborate meals consumed by the hero, who prepares one of its most endearing menus for the sometime lover who’s just spent the night with him.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51998-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019


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


A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

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 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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