In the words of the character who has the most to lose, “It’s been like something out of the Marx Brothers.”

A real-life 1953 abduction sends veteran fictional Chicago shamus Nathan Heller to Kansas City and far beyond.

Whoever snatched 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease from his school is exasperatingly dumb. By the time Bob Greenlease, the wealthy owner of a chain of Cadillac dealerships, calls Heller in on the case, the kidnappers have already sent several garbled messages with unclear directions about how to drop off the record $600,000 ransom they’ve demanded and haven’t shown any inclination to pick up. Greenlease’s faith that Heller’s matchless underworld connections will turn up a new angle pays off in a tip Heller gets from cabdrivers’ union rep Barney Baker, a former bouncer for Bugsy Siegel. Barney tells Heller that top-flight St. Louis mobster Joe Costello has been approached by Steve Strand, an insurance agent looking for a “real nice girl” for the night and a way to launder some serious money. Could it be the Greenlease ransom? Heller makes contact with Costello, who’s as hard-nosed as you’d expect; with Strand, who’s one slippery customer; and with Sandy O’Day, that real nice girl. Students of history, or readers who’ve peeked ahead into Collins’ entertainingly detailed appendix, will know that things won’t end well for most of them. And they’ll be surprised to find Heller, five years after half the ransom money disappears, invited back on the case by Rackets Committee chief counsel Robert F. Kennedy, whose money he won’t take, and Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa, whose money he will. Neither Heller nor Collins supplies the closure Bob Greenlease longs for; this case unfolds more like a maze of Midwestern fleshpots than a whodunit.

In the words of the character who has the most to lose, “It’s been like something out of the Marx Brothers.”

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-78909-852-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022


The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.

The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.

The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780316563765

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


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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