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REAL TIGERS

From the Slough House series , Vol. 3

Even readers who don’t care for the endless bureaucratic infighting will have to admire this tour de force, in which...

The abduction of one of their own rouses the members of MI5’s dead-end Slough House (Dead Lions, 2013, etc.) to action once more.

As she’s the first to tell everyone, recovering alcoholic Catherine Standish has never been “a joe,” a field agent. She’s just the assistant to Jackson Lamb, who lords it over Slough House as if it weren’t the penultimate stop on the path from success in the Security Service to disgrace and oblivion. But that doesn’t stop her ex-lover Sean Donovan from scooping her up in a van, locking her in a room an hour outside London, and demanding in exchange for her return a copy of a most sensitive intelligence file. Naturally, River Cartwright, the colleague Catherine designates as the one she’d be most likely to trust with her life, makes a hash of his attempt to meet the ransom demand and ends up in a little room of his own being worked over by Nick Duffy of the Dogs, the service’s internal police. That’s no slur against him, though, because the savviest agent in the world (something River’s never come close to being on his best day) would never have suspected the truth about the rabbit hole Catherine’s tumbled down. Her kidnapping, it’s gradually revealed, is both more and less than it seems—less, because her abductors couldn’t be more considerate, except for the one who quickly gets killed; more, because the service itself is so torn between narcissistic careerists and warring factions battling for control that its fate, and presumably that of her majesty’s government, seems to hang in the balance.

Even readers who don’t care for the endless bureaucratic infighting will have to admire this tour de force, in which virtually every single player—good guys, bad guys, all the turncoats and in-betweeners—is somehow connected to British Intelligence.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61695-612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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PRETTY GIRLS

Slaughter (Cop Town, 2014, etc.) is so uncompromising in following her blood trails to the darkest places imaginable that...

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • New York Times Bestseller

Twenty-four years after a traumatic disappearance tore a Georgia family apart, Slaughter’s scorching stand-alone picks them up and shreds them all over again.

The Carrolls have never been the same since 19-year-old Julia vanished. After years of fruitlessly pestering the police, her veterinarian father, Sam, killed himself; her librarian mother, Helen, still keeps the girl's bedroom untouched, just in case. Julia’s sisters have been equally scarred. Lydia Delgado has sold herself for drugs countless times, though she’s been clean for years now; Claire Scott has just been paroled after knee-capping her tennis partner for a thoughtless remark. The evening that Claire’s ankle bracelet comes off, her architect husband, Paul, is callously murdered before her eyes and, without a moment's letup, she stumbles on a mountainous cache of snuff porn. Paul’s business partner, Adam Quinn, demands information from Claire and threatens her with dire consequences if she doesn’t deliver. The Dunwoody police prove as ineffectual as ever. FBI agent Fred Nolan is more suavely menacing than helpful. So Lydia and Claire, who’ve grown so far apart that they’re virtual strangers, are unwillingly thrown back on each other for help. Once she’s plunged you into this maelstrom, Slaughter shreds your own nerves along with those of the sisters, not simply by a parade of gruesome revelations—though she supplies them in abundance—but by peeling back layer after layer from beloved family members Claire and Lydia thought they knew. The results are harrowing.

Slaughter (Cop Town, 2014, etc.) is so uncompromising in following her blood trails to the darkest places imaginable that she makes most of her high-wire competition look pallid, formulaic, or just plain fake.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-242905-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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