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

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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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The most over-the-top of Horowitz’s frantically overplotted whodunits to date—and that’s no mean feat.

MOONFLOWER MURDERS

Susan Ryeland, the book editor who retired to Crete after solving the mind-boggling mysteries of Magpie Murders (2017), is enticed to England to try her hand at another Chinese box of a case.

Eight years ago, the wedding weekend of Cecily Treherne and Aiden MacNeil at Branlow Hall, the high-end Suffolk hotel the bride’s parents owned, was ruined by the murder of Frank Parris, a hotel guest and advertising man who just happened to be passing through. Romanian-born maintenance man Stefan Codrescu was promptly convicted of the crime and has been in prison ever since. But Cecily’s recent disappearance shortly after having told her parents she’d become certain Stefan was innocent drives Lawrence and Pauline Treherne to find Susan in Crete, where they offer her 10,000 pounds to solve the mystery again and better. Susan’s the perfect candidate because she worked closely with late author Alan Conway, whose third novel, Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, contained the unspecified evidence that convinced Cecily that Detective Superintendent Richard Locke, now DCS Locke, had made a mistake. Checking into Branlow Hall and interviewing Cecily’s hostile sister, Lisa, and several hotel staffers who were on the scene eight years ago tells Susan all too little. So she turns to Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, whose unabridged reproduction occupies the middle third of Horowitz’s novel, and finds that it offers all too much in the way of possible clues, red herrings, analogies, anagrams, and easter eggs. The novel within a novel is so extensive and absorbing on its own, in fact, that all but the brainiest armchair detectives are likely to find it a serious distraction from the mystery to which it’s supposed to offer the key.

The most over-the-top of Horowitz’s frantically overplotted whodunits to date—and that’s no mean feat.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06295-545-6

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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