A brawny debut so foursquare in its characters and prose that you can hardly wait till Shade finally gets to put those...

A KILLING FROST

Having lost his wife to overwork, his job with the Chicago Police Department to politics, his ancient car to natural causes, and his girlfriend to LA, private eye Ron Shade is about to give up his office—why keep it when he has no walk-in clients?—when his old friend, social worker Maria Castro, walks in. Her buddy Juanita’s fiancé, Carlos Sanchez, has disappeared from his job at Two Thousand and One: Space Oddities, and since he’s a Salvadoran illegal, Juanita doesn’t want to go to the police. By the end of Shade’s first visit to the storage facility, it’s pretty obvious what’s happened to Carlos and who’s responsible. But it takes a long time for Shade to trace the spreading stain of fraud, payoffs, and cover-ups as far as it reaches for several reasons: He’s busy training for the championship kickboxing fight an earlier job injury robbed him of; the theft of his spiffy new Camaro Z-28 robs him of his wheels just when he thinks he’s got nothing left to lose; the clunker he borrows as a replacement needs mechanical work every time he puts the key in the ignition; and his sudden, unexpected romance with Maria makes every hour he’s not spending with her feel like he’s playing hooky. It isn’t long, though, before he learns that fate held worse things in store for Carlos than deportation.

A brawny debut so foursquare in its characters and prose that you can hardly wait till Shade finally gets to put those kickboxing skills to use.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7862-4309-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on...

MYSTIC RIVER

After five adventures for Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and his off-again lover Angela Gennaro (Prayers for Rain, 1999, etc.), Lehane tries his hand at a crossover novel that’s as dark as any of Patrick’s cases.

Even the 1975 prologue is bleak. Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus are playing, or fighting, outside Sean’s parents’ house in the Point neighborhood of East Buckingham when a car pulls up, one of the two men inside flashes a badge, and Sean and Jimmy’s friend Dave Boyle gets bundled inside, allegedly to be driven home to his mother for a scolding but actually to get kidnapped. Though Dave escapes after a few days, he never really outlives his ordeal, and 25 years later it’s Jimmy’s turn to join him in hell when his daughter Katie is shot and beaten to death in the wilds of Pen Park, and State Trooper Sean, just returned from suspension, gets assigned to the case. Sean knows that both Dave and Jimmy have been in more than their share of trouble in the past. And he’s got an especially close eye on Jimmy, whose marriage brought him close to the aptly named Savage family and who’s done hard time for robbery. It would be just like Jimmy, Sean knows, to ignore his friend’s official efforts and go after the killer himself. But Sean would be a lot more worried if he knew what Dave’s wife Celeste knows: that hours after catching sight of Katie in the last bar she visited on the night of her death, Dave staggered home covered with somebody else’s blood. Burrowing deep into his three sorry heroes and the hundred ties that bind them unbearably close, Lehane weaves such a spellbinding tale that it’s easy to overlook the ramshackle mystery behind it all.

An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on his characters’ heads.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16316-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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