by Matthew Guinn ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14, 2015
Imagine a sequel to Birth of a Nation as conceived, written, and directed by David Lynch. Too much of a stretch? Wait till...
Graphic gothic horror and 19th-century American caste politics meld with unsettling force in this (often literally) scorching whodunit.
It is the autumn of 1881 in the American South. President James Garfield is dead, and so is Reconstruction. The city of Atlanta wishes to mark its gradual ascent from the ashes of its Civil War ravishment-by-fire with its International Cotton Exposition, which may even include a visit of reconciliation from its one-time scourge, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman himself. But just before the festivities begin, police find grotesquely mutilated corpses of African-American entrepreneurs with capital letters carved into their foreheads. Desperate for a quick, timely solution, a cabal of prominent businessmen, known as “the Ring,” discreetly hires a discredited, disillusioned ex–Atlanta detective named Thomas Canby to investigate these bizarre serial killings. Since the Ring’s suspicions settle primarily on the city’s segregated black population, Canby is aided in this task by pious, prim Cyrus Underwood, Atlanta’s first duly authorized constable of color, who Canby soon finds is a lot steelier than he seems. And they both soon find that there’s far more to this gory series of murders than meets the eye, as white corpses, each with foreheads bearing bloody single letters, join the black ones in what another character likens to a accursed “spelling bee.” Guinn’s previous period mystery, last year’s The Resurrectionist, was an Edgar finalist for its thoroughbred-racing momentum, and with his conscientious attention to historic detail, and vividly ghoulish imagery, he could conceivably cross the finish line with this ripsnorting follow-up, an intricately woven page-turner whose subtext of class and racial animus ingrained in the American psyche reinforces James Joyce’s assertion of history being the true nightmare from which it’s impossible to awaken.Imagine a sequel to Birth of a Nation as conceived, written, and directed by David Lynch. Too much of a stretch? Wait till you see who—or what—is behind the mayhem.
Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2015
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015
Share your opinion of this book
by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
Share your opinion of this book
by C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
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
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!