A razor-sharp mystery with twists aplenty.


An ex-convict becomes unwittingly embroiled in a fatal shooting and a case of white-collar crime in Nemeth’s thriller.

When John Parker dissolved his business partnership, it almost killed him. Rather, Meredith Walker, his former partner, almost killed him with an attempted lethal double cross. But Parker was the one who went to prison for allegedly shooting Meredith’s accomplice. Three years later, John, a levelheaded, likable lead, is married and working in bustling downtown Atlanta as the head of analytics for an international company. His life is back to normal, and he’s managed to avoid trouble—until Meredith shows up at John’s suburban home. She demands half of the proceeds for the sale of their startup company’s software, but Parker doesn’t have the money. An unexpected gunfight ensues in the yard among Parker, Meredith, and others. After the smoke clears, someone has taken a bullet, and another one of Meredith’s accomplices later turns up dead. Now Parker’s wife, who was armed that night, may face jail time. To add to Parker’s woes, he and his colleague Sabrina Mitchell uncover fraud at their workplace. If they can prove it, they may be able to save hundreds of jobs. Nemeth masterfully weaves the two mysteries together. The murder plot is particularly strong; the deceptively simple bullet-riddled event turns out to have been quite complex. Parker, for example, thoughtfully contemplates everything from shell casings and fingerprints to the distinctive sounds of different caliber guns. These considerations spark lively dialogue, which keeps the pages turning along with abundant plot turns. While the protagonist is memorable, supporting characters, like Sabrina and Paula, also shine. Intelligent, headstrong Sabrina may be even more compassionate about saving those jobs than Parker, and Paula’s alcoholism compounds her paranoid belief that her husband is cheating on her.

A razor-sharp mystery with twists aplenty.

Pub Date: March 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970137-14-9

Page Count: 382

Publisher: Southern Fried Karma, LLC

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.


Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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