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NEVER FORGET

A tantalizing puzzle starring a truly lovable protagonist.

Framed for murder, an optimistic social outcast must prove his innocence.

As the book opens, the collapse of a rugged hillside in Normandy reveals a trio of skeletons who seem to have died in the same place but at different times. Then we flash back to five months earlier, as Jamal Salaoui is attempting to climb “the highest cliff in Europe.” As a Muslim, he’s been a scapegoat his entire life. At the Saint Antoine Therapeutic Institute of Bagnolet, where he works, he’s often unfairly accused of neglecting his teenage clients. When he spots a distressed young woman dangerously close to the cliff’s edge, he’s unable to stop her from leaping to her death. At this point, Jamal, now accused of murder, takes over the narrative. After he ventures down to examine the body, things become more complicated. A woman named Denise and her male companion, whom Jamal dubs Xanax, arrive, eyeing him suspiciously. They’re soon followed by laconic police captain Piroz. A cursory look at the dead woman reveals that she’s naked under her coat and that she’s been raped and that someone had also tried to strangle her. Then an anonymous person mails him newspaper clippings, case notes, and witness statements at the hotel where he's staying, seemingly about the tragedy on the cliff, but when he looks more closely he sees that the article is a decade old. A second flashback spotlights this earlier, identical crime, also investigated by Piroz. As evidence piles up against him, Jamal and intrepid postdoctoral fellow Mona use their wits and the internet to ferret out the real killer. Bussi creates a devilish nesting-doll plot that involves a sudokulike number square, ghosts, and surprising family connections.

A tantalizing puzzle starring a truly lovable protagonist.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60945-612-2

Page Count: 480

Publisher: World Noir

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

The ne’er-do-well son of a successful Irish American family gets dragged into criminal complications that suggest the rest of the Devlins aren’t exactly the upstanding citizens they appear.

The first 35 years in the life of Thomas “TJ” Devlin have been one disappointment after another to his parents, lawyers who founded a prosperous insurance and reinsurance firm, and his more successful siblings, John and Gabby. A longtime alcoholic who’s been unemployable ever since he did time for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend Carrie’s then 2-year-old daughter, TJ is nominally an investigator for Devlin & Devlin, but everyone knows the post is a sinecure. Things change dramatically when golden-boy John tells TJ that he just killed Neil Lemaire, an accountant for D&D client Runstan Electronics. Their speedy return to the murder scene reveals no corpse, so the brothers breathe easier—until Lemaire turns up shot to death in his car. John’s way of avoiding anything that might jeopardize his status as heir apparent to D&D is to throw TJ under the bus, blaming him for everything John himself has done and adding that you can’t trust anything his brother has said since he’s fallen off the wagon. TJ, who’s maintained his sobriety a day at a time for nearly two years, feels outraged, but neither the police investigating the murder nor his nearest and dearest care about his feelings. Forget the forgettable mystery, whose solution will leave you shrugging instead of gasping, and focus on the circular firing squad of the Devlins, and you’ll have a much better time than TJ.

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780525539704

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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THREE-INCH TEETH

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

A bear is hunting prey in Wyoming’s Bighorns. And not just any bear.

It’s bad enough that Clay Hutmacher, who manages the Double Diamond Ranch, has lost his son, Clay Jr., to a vicious attack by a grizzly bear. What’s much worse is that Clay Jr.—who’d been about to pop the question to game warden Joe Pickett’s daughter, Sheridan—is only the first of the victims over an exceptionally broad geographical area. Marshal Marvin Bertignolli is clawed and bitten to death over in Hanna. Sgt. Ryan Winner is found bleeding out north of Rawlins. Former Twelve Sleep County prosecutor Dulcie Schalk, one of two survivors of an ambush, doesn’t survive her final encounter. The four experts chosen to kill the grizzly rope Joe into their expedition, but since their quarry keeps turning up far from the last sighting, the most meaningful confrontation the Predator Attack Team has is with a pair of Mama Bears, animal rights activists who demand due process for Tisiphone, as they’ve dubbed the presumed killer. Box, who’s far too canny to leave Tisiphone alone on center stage, follows Joe’s old antagonist Dallas Cates as the ex–rodeo star is released from prison and embarks on his revenge tour, which takes him to Lee Ogburn-Russell, an inventor whose life Dallas saved, and Axel Soledad, a correspondent who shares so many enemies with Dallas that he suggests they go after them together. Franchise fans will appreciate new details about Joe’s complicated family, the obligatory high-country landscapes, and yet another corrupt law enforcer.

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780593331347

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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