More perhaps than any of Connelly’s much-honored other titles, this one reveals why his procedurals are the most soulful in...

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THE LATE SHOW

The 30th novel by the creator of Harry Bosch (The Wrong Side of Goodbye, 2016, etc.) and the Lincoln Lawyer (The Gods of Guilt, 2013, etc.) introduces an LAPD detective fighting doggedly for justice for herself and a wide array of victims.

Ever since her partner, Detective Ken Chastain, failed to back up her sexual harassment claim against Lt. Robert Olivas, her supervisor at the Robbery Homicide Division, Renée Ballard has been banished to the midnight shift—the late show. She’s kept her chin down and worked her cases, most of which are routinely passed on to the day shifts, without complaints or recriminations. But that all ends the night she and Detective John Jenkins, the partner who’s running on empty, are called to The Dancers, a nightclub where five people have been shot dead. Three of them—a bookie, a drug dealer, and a rumored mob enforcer—are no great loss, but Ballard can’t forget Cynthia Haddel, the young woman serving drinks while she waited for her acting career to take off. The case naturally falls to Olivas, who humiliatingly shunts Ballard aside. But she persists in following leads during her time off even though she’d already caught another case earlier the same night, the brutal assault on Ramona Ramone, ne Ramón Gutierrez, a trans hooker beaten nearly to death who mumbles something about “the upside-down house” before lapsing into a coma. Despite, or because of, the flak she gets from across the LAPD, Ballard soldiers on, horrified but energized when Chastain is gunned down only a few hours after she tells him off for the way he let her down two years ago. She’ll run into layers of interference, get kidnapped herself, expose a leak in the department, kill a man, and find some wholly unexpected allies before she claps the cuffs on the killer in a richly satisfying conclusion.

More perhaps than any of Connelly’s much-honored other titles, this one reveals why his procedurals are the most soulful in the business: because he finds the soul in the smallest details, faithfully executed.

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-22598-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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