An engaging sequel that will leave readers hoping Luc returns yet again.


Chasing Demons

As his past comes back, peeling away the layers of protection he’s constructed to restart his life, investigative reporter Luc Actar becomes ensnared in a web of consequences stemming from malpractice within the mental health system of Los Angeles.

Luc returns for his second starring role in Garcia’s (Falling Angels, 2006, etc.) latest page-turner. Born into poverty and raised by an abusive, alcoholic father, Luc learned early on how to fend for himself on the streets of LA. After several run-ins with the law and a career as a car thief, he blossomed into a star journalist for Crime Reporter, with a specialty in uncovering police corruption in Southern California. Now, he’s living with Mattie Hardwin, ex-wife of his best friend, in her Malibu home, he drives a Porsche of questionable provenance and has determinedly been putting his past behind him. But when the police come to tell him that his estranged father has died, Luc becomes inexorably drawn into the investigation of mental health records stolen by the elder Actar, and he soon finds himself in the center of a string of murders that threaten everyone and everything that’s important to him. Garcia is a skillful novelist, and she makes good use of Luc’s first-person narrative to plumb the depths of the fears and self-deprecation that lie beneath his combative, trouble-prone exterior. Readers get only glimpses into the character development of the large supporting cast—even Mattie, the pivotal motivator in Luc’s life, is a bit of a cipher—but this is Luc’s story, after all, and readers will find themselves hoping he can skirt the edges of what seems like an inevitable decline into an abyss of self-destruction. Some interesting plot twists liven up the story, and the appearance of Chris Actar, a young teenager who may or may not be Luc’s half brother, adds even more complexity to a man still trying to define himself.

An engaging sequel that will leave readers hoping Luc returns yet again.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-1480258112

Page Count: 256

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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

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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

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