Cooking tips and Poe lore help move the mundane mystery along to a satisfying if not surprising conclusion.

READ REVIEW

THE TELL-TALE TARTE

A job as an author’s stand-in puts a sleuth in jeopardy.

Val Deniston left her job and her cheating boyfriend behind in New York when she moved into her grandfather’s huge old house in a little Chesapeake Bay community. After they were involved in several murder cases (Final Fondue, 2016, etc.), her grandfather Don Meyer took a correspondence course to become a detective. He’s mighty secretive, though, about his new job, which involves his changing his appearance. On a shopping trip with a friend, Val thinks she sees her grandfather in his new guise fall over in the parking lot, but when she rushes to help, she realizes the man is not Don but a look-alike who later dies. As it turns out, the dead man is Emmett Flint, an actor in the same group as Val’s boyfriend, Gunnar, who recently fought with him. Now that Flint’s died from an overdose of blood-pressure medication, the police consider Gunnar a suspect. When Val caters a dinner party for reclusive author Rick Usher, she's shocked to find her grandfather there, impersonating him—and realizes that both Don and Emmett had been dressed up as Usher. Although she has problems of her own—the health club restaurant she manages may have to close—the prospect that someone trying to kill Usher may kill Don instead forces her to put them aside and team up with him to find the truth. Usher lives with his wife, her assistant, and his co-author in the House of Usher, where he turns out Poe pastiches and immerses himself in all things Poe, a situation no more macabre than the one Val finds herself in as she struggles to protect her grandfather.

Cooking tips and Poe lore help move the mundane mystery along to a satisfying if not surprising conclusion.

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0917-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE BITTERROOTS

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more