Satisfyingly doom-and-gloomy, even though many readers will balk at the last round of dark revelations and the last spasm of...

SECOND SKIN

A second dose of murderous troubles that hit all too close to home for Jacksonville homicide detective Daniel Turner and his family.

Daniel’s sister Lillian isn’t the type to let things go. So when Sheneel Greene, one of her favorite students, goes missing, she asks her husband, skip tracer Johnny Bellefleur, to see if he can find her. Johnny demurs, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, for Sheneel’s already dead. Since Johnny is another one who doesn’t let things go, he asks Daniel for a peek at Sheneel’s case file, only to hit the first of many brick walls. There’s a file all right, and Daniel shows it to him, but he assures him that there's no case: Sheneel had tried to kill herself three times before, and the fourth time was presumably the charm. There’s even a convenient note in the victim’s own handwriting. Daniel doesn’t seem to care that Sheneel’s body was full of drugs that suicides rarely use or that someone’s cut off her arm with a sharp implement. Not even the death of Sheneel’s half brother, Alex, another very iffy suicide, sways him. So it falls to Johnny, still battling demons from his job bagging combat casualties for the Navy (Blue Avenue, 2014), and his sister to tie the deaths to the villainous Phelps family, whose long history of exploiting North Florida’s resources and locals provides far too many suspects—Edward the monstrous patriarch, his rapacious son, Stephen, their wives and unacknowledged children—each of whom takes a turn in the spotlight before yielding to someone who looks even guiltier. Long before the curtain comes down, Lillian won’t know who on Earth she can trust, and neither will you.

Satisfyingly doom-and-gloomy, even though many readers will balk at the last round of dark revelations and the last spasm of violence that accompanies them.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8534-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

This ran in the S.E.P. and resulted in more demands for the story in book form than ever recorded. Well, here it is and it is a honey. Imagine ten people, not knowing each other, not knowing why they were invited on a certain island house-party, not knowing their hosts. Then imagine them dead, one by one, until none remained alive, nor any clue to the murderer. Grand suspense, a unique trick, expertly handled.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 1939

ISBN: 0062073478

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1939

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The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

ARCHIE GOES HOME

In Archie Goodwin's 15th adventure since the death of his creator, Rex Stout, his gossipy Aunt Edna Wainwright lures him from 34th Street to his carefully unnamed hometown in Ohio to investigate the death of a well-hated bank president.

Tom Blankenship, the local police chief, thinks there’s no case since Logan Mulgrew shot himself. But Archie’s mother, Marjorie Goodwin, and Aunt Edna know lots of people with reason to have killed him. Mulgrew drove rival banker Charles Purcell out of business, forcing Purcell to get work as an auto mechanic, and foreclosed on dairy farmer Harold Mapes’ spread. Lester Newman is convinced that Mulgrew murdered his ailing wife, Lester’s sister, so that he could romance her nurse, Carrie Yeager. And Donna Newman, Lester’s granddaughter, might have had an eye on her great-uncle’s substantial estate. Nor is Archie limited to mulling over his relatives’ gossip, for Trumpet reporter Verna Kay Padgett, whose apartment window was shot out the night her column raised questions about the alleged suicide, is perfectly willing to publish a floridly actionable summary of the leading suspects that delights her editor, shocks Archie, and infuriates everyone else. The one person missing is Archie’s boss, Nero Wolfe (Death of an Art Collector, 2019, etc.), and fans will breathe a sigh of relief when he appears at Marjorie’s door, debriefs Archie, notices a telltale clue, prepares dinner for everyone, sleeps on his discovery, and arranges a meeting of all parties in Marjorie’s living room in which he names the killer.

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5040-5988-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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