by Michael Brandman ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 27, 2021
The perfect substitute for that good-time trip to California you’ve decided not to take after all.
A trio of rule-breaking women keep San Remo County Deputy Sheriff Buddy Steel on his toes.
Buddy’s still fighting the attempts of his father, ALS–stricken Sheriff Burton Steel, to appoint him acting sheriff and ultimately anoint him sheriff in his place. But he’s called back from his sabbatical jaunt away with friend-with-benefits Jordyn Yates when the house where he was raised becomes the latest victim of a high-tech burglar who effortlessly circumvents home security systems and cracks the safes inside. His father is so upset and depressed that Buddy quickly agrees to return as acting sheriff, refusing the title but taking on the responsibilities. Those responsibilities extend from figuring out how the burglar operates to intervening personally when another burglary turns into a hostage crisis, overcoming and arresting the well-born burglar and hostage taker, Jeffrey Brice, and ascertaining that the brains behind all those break-ins is a woman. In short order, Buddy finds himself tangling with both Jill Nelson, the apparent hostage who disappeared shortly after her rescue, and Catalina Sanchez, the cybersmart daughter of Los Perros cartel leader Chuy Sanchez, and seeking help from Quinn Anthony, the barely legal cybersecurity consultant who has the hots for him and doesn’t mind telling him so at every opportunity. As usual in this fast-paced franchise, Brandman’s more interested in action than mystery, and the biggest riddle isn’t whodunit but how Buddy will deal with Jill, Catalina, and Quinn. Fans will likely be satisfied with all three of his solutions.The perfect substitute for that good-time trip to California you’ve decided not to take after all.
Pub Date: April 27, 2021
Page Count: 264
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021
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by Michael Connelly ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.
The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Stephen King ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 5, 2023
Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.
A much-beloved author gives a favorite recurring character her own novel.
Holly Gibney made her first appearance in print with a small role in Mr. Mercedes (2014). She played a larger role in The Outsider (2018). And she was the central character in If It Bleeds, a novella in the 2020 collection of the same name. King has said that the character “stole his heart.” Readers adore her, too. One way to look at this book is as several hundred pages of fan service. King offers a lot of callbacks to these earlier works that are undoubtedly a treat for his most loyal devotees. That these easter eggs are meaningless and even befuddling to new readers might make sense in terms of costs and benefits. King isn’t exactly an author desperate to grow his audience; pleasing the people who keep him at the top of the bestseller lists is probably a smart strategy, and this writer achieved the kind of status that whatever he writes is going to be published. Having said all that, it’s possible that even his hardcore fans might find this story a bit slow. There are also issues in terms of style. Much of the language King uses and the cultural references he drops feel a bit creaky. The word slacks occurs with distracting frequency. King uses the phrase keeping it on the down-low in a way that suggests he probably doesn’t understand how this phrase is currently used—and has been used for quite a while. But the biggest problem is that this narrative is framed as a mystery without delivering the pleasures of a mystery. The reader knows who the bad guys are from the start. This can be an effective storytelling device, but in this case, waiting for the private investigator heroine to get to where the reader is at the beginning of the story feels interminable.Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.
Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023
Page Count: 464
Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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