Cox has a fine time putting all these questions into play in this long, learned and remarkably entertaining treat, which...

READ REVIEW

THE MEANING OF NIGHT

A CONFESSION

A bibliophilic, cozy, murderous confection out of foggy old England.

Mystery writers who have taken up residence in the Victorian era have concentrated mostly on the later years, when Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of London. Cox, biographer of M.R. James and anthologist of other Victorian scary storytellers, plants his pleasantly meandering story early in Victoria and Albert’s rule, a time when the old class system was fraying at the edges while hungry country folk and proletarians began to push for a bigger piece of the butterpie. Our dark hero, Edward Glyver, aka Edward Glapthorn, has many a grievance to lodge: He is, or at least believes himself to be, or at least professes to be—he’s a most complex fellow, and we can never be sure—a bastard in the classic sense, sired by a booming war hero whom only Aubrey Smith could play. He has also been sorely wronged by the deeply class-conscious, deeply disagreeable Phoebus Daunt, who survives boarding school and all its buggeries and betrayals only to spill out Swinburnesque verse. Annoyed, jealous, downright irritated, E.G. does the natural thing: A bookish sort with a criminal streak a league wide, he slaughters an apparently innocent fellow in the wrong place at the wrong time. “You must understand,” he intones, “that I am not a murderer by nature, only by temporary design.” Ah, but someone has seen, and now neatly nibbed notes are arriving under his door and that of his intended, warning her that she had better steer clear and that he had better watch his back. Who is writing these notes? Who would want to harm our blameless E.G.? Whom should E.G. massacre next to protect his assets?

Cox has a fine time putting all these questions into play in this long, learned and remarkably entertaining treat, which begs comparison with the work of Patricia Highsmith.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-393-06203-1

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inside this bloated novel is a lean thriller starring a strong and damaged protagonist who's as compelling as Lisbeth...

THE THIRD TO DIE

In Brennan’s (Nothing To Hide, 2019, etc.) new series launch, a hard-edged female LAPD undercover cop and an ambitious FBI special agent race to catch a serial killer before he strikes again.

On paid administrative leave since an incident with a suspect went wrong, a restless Detective Kara Quinn is on an early morning run in her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, when she discovers the flayed corpse of a young nurse. In D.C., FBI Special Agent in Charge Mathias Costa is staffing the new Mobile Response Team, designed to cover rural areas underserved by law enforcement, when his boss assigns Matt and analyst Ryder Kim to Liberty Lake. The notorious Triple Killer, who murders three random victims, three days apart, every three years, has returned. With only six days to identify and catch the culprit, and only three days until he kills again, the team is “on a very tight clock.” What should be on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense turns into a slog marred by pedestrian prose (“she heard nothing except birds chirping…”), a convoluted plot slowed down by a focus on dull bureaucratic infighting, and flat character development. The sole exception is the vividly drawn Kara. Smart, angry, defensive, complicated, she fascinates both the reader and Matt ("Kara Quinn was different—and he couldn’t put his finger on why”).

Inside this bloated novel is a lean thriller starring a strong and damaged protagonist who's as compelling as Lisbeth Salander.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7783-0944-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sluggish plot hemmed in by too much backstory and going-through-the-motions prose. Not Brown’s best.

WHITE HOT

Lukewarm thriller from bestselling Brown (Hello, Darkness, 2003, etc.).

Sayre Hoyle doesn’t believe her brother Danny committed suicide, and she’s returned home to prove it—but it seems nothing ever changes in Destiny, Louisiana. The small town looks the same as ever, and the same good old boys are sitting in the same vinyl booths at the same diner, conniving and backstabbing and telling lies. Too bad one of them just happens to be Sayre’s daddy, Huff Hoyle. A self-made rich man in a poor parish, he owns a smoke-belching iron foundry, a hellish place that at least provides employment for the beaten-down men of Destiny. If industrial accidents do happen in one of ’em now and then, well, that’s God’s will. Tough-talking Huff don’t want the government OSHA boys anywhere near his foundry, and that goes double for union organizers and other un-American busybodies. Sayre’s heard it all before—and still doesn’t trust either him or her creepy older brother, Chris, who took so much pleasure in tormenting her when they were young. And there’s Huff’s new right-hand man, lawyer Beck Merchant, to contend with. What exactly does Beck stand to gain by his involvement with Huff and cronies? If only he weren’t so good-looking and sexy. . . . Back to the story: Did Slap Watkins, jug-eared, degenerate scion of inbred bayou-dwellers, kill gentleman Danny in a fit of rage when Danny refused to hire Slap’s fellow parolees? Nah. Slap doesn’t have the brains or coordination to kill a June bug. Back to the subplot: Will the tyrannical Huff resort to violence when his ironworkers defy him and go out on strike? And back to the reason Sayre hates Huff: He forced her to have an abortion, performed by an incompetent doctor who tied her, screaming, to the table in his back room. And now for the reason Beck hates Huff . . . .

Sluggish plot hemmed in by too much backstory and going-through-the-motions prose. Not Brown’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2004

ISBN: 0-7432-4553-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more