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PIECE OF MY HEART

A fitting sendoff that modulates as smooth as butter from celebration to shock to detection to ticking-clock suspense.

The sixth and presumably final collaboration between Clark, who died in January, and Burke picks up with true-crime TV producer Laurie Moran on the very eve of her wedding, only to see her happiness dashed when her fiance’s nephew is kidnapped.

Even though her first husband was murdered by a man who years later came after her and her son, Timmy, Laurie considers herself impossibly lucky. As she frolics at East Hampton’s South Shore Resort and Spa, surrounded by her loving family, days before she’s to marry federal judge Alex Buckley, who hosts her TV program, Under Suspicion, she feels more blessed than ever. Her serenity is rudely jolted when that family suddenly shrinks with the disappearance of Johnny Buckley, the 7-year-old son of Alex’s sister, Marcy, spirited out from under the nose of his longtime babysitter’s slightly less attentive friend. Laurie blames herself for golfing instead of hitting the beach with Timmy and Johnny; her father, former NYPD first deputy commissioner Leo Farley, blames himself for spending the day responding to the accusations of Darren Gunther, who’s been imprisoned ever since he confessed to Leo that he stabbed bar owner Lou Finney 18 years ago in a brawl that got out of hand, that Leo only made up his confession. Could Gunther have arranged Johnny’s kidnapping to press Leo to support his story? Could the abduction have something to do with Marcy and Andrew Buckley’s adoption of Johnny soon after he was born to a woman whose identity they’ve never learned? Or could the kidnapper have snatched Johnny by mistake, thinking he was Timmy?

A fitting sendoff that modulates as smooth as butter from celebration to shock to detection to ticking-clock suspense.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982132-54-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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

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THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB

From the Thursday Murder Club series , Vol. 1

A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.

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Four residents of Coopers Chase, a British retirement village, compete with the police to solve a murder in this debut novel.

The Thursday Murder Club started out with a group of septuagenarians working on old murder cases culled from the files of club founder Elizabeth Best’s friend Penny Gray, a former police officer who's now comatose in the village's nursing home. Elizabeth used to have an unspecified job, possibly as a spy, that has left her with a large network of helpful sources. Joyce Meadowcroft is a former nurse who chronicles their deeds. Psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif and well-known political firebrand Ron Ritchie complete the group. They charm Police Constable Donna De Freitas, who, visiting to give a talk on safety at Coopers Chase, finds the residents sharp as tacks. Built with drug money on the grounds of a convent, Coopers Chase is a high-end development conceived by loathsome Ian Ventham and maintained by dangerous crook Tony Curran, who’s about to be fired and replaced with wary but willing Bogdan Jankowski. Ventham has big plans for the future—as soon as he’s removed the nuns' bodies from the cemetery. When Curran is murdered, DCI Chris Hudson gets the case, but Elizabeth uses her influence to get the ambitious De Freitas included, giving the Thursday Club a police source. What follows is a fascinating primer in detection as British TV personality Osman allows the members to use their diverse skills to solve a series of interconnected crimes.

A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-98-488096-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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