A memorably coldhearted case that offers abundant evidence for the grim proposition that “not every cop is dirty, but the...

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TIN MEN

Knowles takes a break from the chronicles of dead-eyed professional thief Wilson (Rocks Beat Paper, 2017, etc.) to shine a remorseless spotlight on three variously bent Canadian cops seeking justice for a fourth who’s been gruesomely murdered.

Detective Julie Owen’s eight-month pregnancy ended when someone knocked her out, tied her to her own bedposts, cut her baby out of her belly, and left her to bleed out. DS Jerry Morgan, head of the homicide unit of Division 1 of the Hamilton Police, wants the case closed ASAP, so he puts three of his best detectives on it: Os, better known as the tin man because he’s all shield and no heart; his partner, Charlie Woodward, better known as Woody, who’s dealing with his own losses by bouncing between heroin and Adderall; and Dennis Hamlet, better known as a guy who closes cases even though Woody and Os want nothing to do with him, maybe because he’s a lot less smart than he thinks. No sooner does Dennis interview Lisa O’Brien, the friend and neighbor who found Julie’s body, then she’s run down by a car as she crosses the street. Where will it end? Not with Dr. Kelsey, who doesn’t want to say a word about the support group she ran for Julie, Lisa, and other bipolar patients; not with Julie’s mother, Miranda Owen, whose Alzheimer’s has stranded her in 1985 when Dennis goes to break the news of her daughter’s death; not with Tony Nguyen, the Vietnamese-Canadian who runs the Yellow Circle gang, which Julie and her partner, Oscar Ramirez, had been investigating in the days before her death. In fact, the evidence seems to lead more and more conclusively to “a group of suspects all carrying badges.”

A memorably coldhearted case that offers abundant evidence for the grim proposition that “not every cop is dirty, but the good ones are.”

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77041-422-8

Page Count: 312

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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