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

PIECE OF MY HEART

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. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

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THE DARK HOURS

Meet today’s LAPD, with both good and bad apples reduced to reacting to crimes defensively instead of trying to prevent them, unless of course they’re willing to break the rules.

New Year’s Eve 2020 finds Detective Renée Ballard, survivor of rape and Covid-19, partnered with Detective Lisa Moore, of Hollywood’s Sexual Assault Unit, in search of leads on the Midnight Men, a tag team of rapists who assaulted women on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve without leaving any forensic evidence behind. The pair are called to the scene of a shooting that would have gone to West Bureau Homicide if the unit weren’t already stretched to the limit, a case that should be handed over to West Bureau ASAP. But Ballard gets her teeth into the murder of body shop owner Javier Raffa, who reportedly bought his way out of the gang Las Palmas. The news that Raffa’s been shot by the same weapon that killed rapper Albert Lee 10 years ago sends Ballard once more to Harry Bosch, the poster boy for retirements that drive the LAPD crazy. Both victims had taken on silent partners in order to liquidate their debts, and there’s every indication that the partners were linked. That’s enough for Ballard and Bosch to launch a shadow investigation even as Ballard, abandoned by Moore, who’s flown the coop for the weekend, works feverishly to identify the Midnight Men on her own. As usual in this stellar series, the path to the last act is paved with false leads, interdepartmental squabbles, and personal betrayals, and the structure sometimes sways in the breeze. But no one who follows Ballard and Bosch to the end will be disappointed.

A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48564-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Slow moving and richly layered.

THE SEARCHER

A retired cop takes one last case in this stand-alone novel from the creator of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Originally from North Carolina, Cal Hooper has spent the last 30 years in Chicago. “A small place. A small town in a small country”: That’s what he’s searching for when he moves to the West of Ireland. His daughter is grown, his wife has left him, so Cal is on his own—until a kid named Trey starts hanging around. Trey’s brother is missing. Everyone believes that Brendan has run off just like his father did, but Trey thinks there’s more to the story than just another young man leaving his family behind in search of money and excitement in the city. Trey wants the police detective who just emigrated from America to find out what’s really happened to Brendan. French is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few. Cal is a new arrival to an insular community, and he’s about to discover that he didn’t leave crime and violence behind when he left the big city. Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French's latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments.

Slow moving and richly layered.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-73-522465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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