by Michael Connelly ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 16, 2002
A bone to throw to loyalists while they wait for another case to rival A Darkness More Than Night (2001).
Connelly takes his customary edge off Harry Bosch’s latest case: the murder of a 12-year-old runaway that had never even been suspected until a playful dog turned up his bones in a shallow grave.
Most of the people who lived in Laurel Canyon around 1980—the approximate date the forensics indicate the sorely beaten boy’s life was abruptly ended with a final blow to the head—have long since moved on. So one of Harry’s first jobs is figuring out who was even in the neighborhood when the boy was buried. Even after a distinctive skateboard allows Harry to identify the victim as Arthur Delacroix, lots of problems remain for Harry and Julia Brasher, the LAPD rookie who’s soon sharing his confidences and his bed. A conversation with a known pedophile who lived a few doors away from Arthur’s grave plunges Harry into official hot water. Arthur’s abusive father is suspiciously eager to confess to the murder. And a routine chat with Johnny Stokes, a childhood friend of Arthur’s who’s grown up to be the complete loser, explodes in violence. Connelly handles all these episodes with his accustomed skill, but he can’t hide the fact that they’re episodes designed to make a 20-year-old homicide seem more urgent and dangerous to the present-day cast than it actually is. Harry still shines as a detective, and the sorry souls the evidence flushes out into the open go far to explain his conviction that “in every murder is the tale of a city.” But the case itself is marked by coincidences and shifting suspicions that suggest untidiness rather than virtuosity, and there’s precious little of the unremitting tension that’s won Connelly such a following over the past ten years.A bone to throw to loyalists while they wait for another case to rival A Darkness More Than Night (2001).
Pub Date: April 16, 2002
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...
Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.
Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.
Pub Date: July 28, 2015
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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