When the Retimer has a mission and an enemy, explosive action rapidly follows.


More Than Love Can Love

From the Retimer Series series , Vol. 7

The seventh in Angliss’ (In the State I’m In, 2015, etc.) espionage series finds its Australian protagonist on assignment to thwart an African drug lord while falling in love with his agent-aide.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation sends Luthan Fennes and Priscilla Cassidy to Mozambique to take down known drug lord Col. Saidi Rusere. The two operatives already have a connection: Fennes, aka the Retimer, trained Priscilla when she was a recruit. But before their latest mission even gets under way, it’s evident that the two are in love. Once in Africa, an ASIO-sanctioned car bombing fails to kill Rusere, who blames the attempted assassination on his cousin, Mozambican President José Martinho. A subsequent sniper incident upgrades Rusere to general, and he plans a coup. He also captures the agents after their covers are blown, but Fennes and Priscilla escape, determined to make the next assassination attempt a success. Rusere’s coup seems to involve setting off devastating explosions, including a bomb at Cahora Bassa Dam, the sixth largest in the world. There are implications, however, of something bigger at play: according to rumors, Rusere has an identical twin, while either the general or Martinho has hands on a “superweapon.” Despite the title, the author’s latest offering is more spy novel than romance. The action, in fact, rarely lets up; there are endless battles with bullets and grenades, as well as chase sequences, one on surf bikes and another in the snow-covered Swiss Alps. The couple’s relationship, meanwhile, is largely effective, a reprieve from numerous characters trying to kill one another. It’s likewise amusing when, for example, the two engage in a kissing session and Priscilla soon thereafter sports an assault rifle. Fennes’ machismo can be overbearing; at one point he notes that Priscilla in peril needed “the physical shot in the arm that was a man.” The narrative, too, is occasionally verbose, like Fennes speaking into “the dashboard hands-free digital touchpad smartphone link.” But when Angliss describes scuffles, his prose soars; a highlight is Fennes and Rusere “interlocked in one another’s arms, each man punching and kicking his foe, freefalling from the aircraft.”

When the Retimer has a mission and an enemy, explosive action rapidly follows.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5120-6823-8

Page Count: 398

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2016

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


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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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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