Genre fans will savor the espionage and political intrigue while cheering a spy who can dodge bullets with sophistication.

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IN THE STATE I'M IN

Australian spy Luthan Fennes returns for his third outing in Angliss’ (Stingerbones, 2013, etc.) thriller series, this time to find who’s behind the bombings of German embassies throughout the world.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation operative Fennes, aka the Retimer, is in Ankara, Turkey, looking into connections between Turkey’s German Embassy and recent bombings at the German Embassy in Australia. He doesn’t prevent another bombing, but he does uncover info on Johann Weber, who works at the embassy and may have been a contact for the bombers. While Turkish police believe Fennes is responsible for the bombings, he searches for the person who ordered the embassy attacks. After Fennes narrowly escapes an assassination attempt, villagers save the injured man, and he returns the favor by tracking down Asli, a victim of human traffickers who’s been missing for two years. Angliss’ writing style takes some getting used to; he’s prone to uncommon words—e.g., “refaced” (here, meaning to face someone or something again)—and strange wording, as when Fennes “entered the Internet” on his mobile phone. But the espionage, reminiscent of James Bond novels, is centered on the protagonist’s mental capacity over physical prowess. Even the action scenes, of which there are quite a few, are meticulously plotted; it’s less about Fennes’ instinctual reaction than a distinct assessment each time someone shoots at him or tosses a grenade in his direction. Fennes also manages a great deal of chic: He’s often adorned in a black suit and tie (for that matter, so are many of the villains) and drives a top-of-the-line vehicle, like a BMW or his souped-up Rallyon, which he equates with the “famous modern Batmobile.” Asli acts as a romantic interest of sorts, but Fennes’ apparent love for a woman he hardly knows seems out of place and happens so quickly that it’s not very believable. Angliss takes his hero on an adventure around the globe—Moscow, Iraq, North Korea—and he augments his story with humor and dishy one-liners, as when an ensnared suspect threatens to kill Fennes and the spy nonchalantly responds, “I’ve heard that a million times.”

Genre fans will savor the espionage and political intrigue while cheering a spy who can dodge bullets with sophistication.

Pub Date: March 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1495448799

Page Count: 270

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2014

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These characters are so beloved that readers may not mind when a few twists veer dangerously close to the absurd.

WHEN YOU SEE ME

Three Gardner fan favorites—FBI agent Kimberly Quincy, Sgt. D.D. Warren of the Boston Police, and serial-killer–survivor–turned-vigilante Flora Dane—team up to untangle a series of murders, and lots of small-town secrets, in the Georgia hills.

On a hike in the hills outside the quaint tourist town of Niche, Georgia, a couple finds the partial skeletal remains of Lilah Abenito, who went missing 15 years ago. Lilah was thought to be one of the first victims connected to Jacob Ness, who kidnapped Flora eight years ago when she was a Boston college student and held her captive, mostly in a coffin-sized box, for 472 days. The chance to link the deceased Ness to additional crimes is impossible to pass up, and FBI agent Kimberly Quincy invites D.D., Flora (who is a confidential informant for D.D.), and computer analyst Keith Edgar, Flora's friend/love interest, to be part of her task force. A search through the hills turns up a mass grave full of more skeletal remains. While D.D. is updating the mayor, Howard Counsel, and his wife, Martha, who own the charming Mountain Laurel B&B, she becomes interested in their timid, fearful maid, a young Hispanic woman who's brain damaged and unable to speak following a car accident when she was a child. When Martha suddenly hangs herself (or so it seems), D.D. realizes something very odd is going on at ye olde B&B. Gardner juggles multiple narratives, including that of the Counsels’ nameless maid, with ease. However, the involvement of two civilians in a major federal task force is initially hard to swallow, as are a few supernatural elements Gardner (Look for Me, 2018, etc.) shoehorns in. But Flora’s tentative romance with Keith and her realization that she might finally be thriving, not just surviving, are bright spots, as is Gardner’s evolving and sensitive exploration of trauma and its insidious, lasting effects.

These characters are so beloved that readers may not mind when a few twists veer dangerously close to the absurd.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4500-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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