As much brutally choreographed action as Painted Skins (2016), much of it taking the form of rematches among gladiators...

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His third adventure recalls private eye Nicolas "Po" Villere and his partner, ex-cop Tess Grey, back to his roots in Baton Rouge for the world’s worst, and most eventful, homecoming.

Po wastes no tears over the impending death of his mother, who was repeatedly unfaithful to Jacques Villere, the father whose violent death Po spent 12 years in jail for violently avenging. But now that Clara Villere, seeing her end approaching, has asked him to return, he can’t say no even though her deathbed is likely to be closely attended by her second husband, Darius Chatard, and his surviving sons, Francis and Leon, who’ve sworn vengeance against Po for killing their brothers, Roman and Lucas. Clara wastes no time in telling Po why she wanted him to come: to let him know that he has a sister, Emilia Chatard, who, despite her last name, is Jacques Villere’s daughter. Though the news does nothing to close the rifts between Po and the Chatards, that’s almost beside the point, because much bigger trouble is around the corner. Emilia, still as ignorant that she has another sibling as Po was until very recently, and her boyfriend have gone deep into the backwoods to score some designer weed only to find the growers, Hal and Jamie Thibodaux, gruesomely slain. Cleary Menon, their monstrous killer, and his more normal-sized brother, Zeke, have recognized Emilia and threatened her and her loved ones so effectively that she’s gone into hiding, guided only by the mantra: “Stay hidden. Stay alive.” Wonder how that family reunion will work out now?

As much brutally choreographed action as Painted Skins (2016), much of it taking the form of rematches among gladiators who’ve already gone one round with each other. The family complications, though, make this sequel seem just a bit more deeply felt.

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8705-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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