Captivating characters star in this mesmerizing whodunit packed with secrets.


From the Mourning Dove Mysteries series , Vol. 2

An adrift investigator uncovers too many suspects in this mystery.

Emory Rome was unfairly dismissed from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in Murder on the Lake of Fire (2017), the first volume of Wilson’s mystery series. In this sequel, Emory is considering suing the TBI. Meanwhile, he starts a new job as a partner in Mourning Dove Investigations with his lover, Jeff Woodward, and Jeff’s longtime friend Virginia Kennon. The trio is soon tested by the bizarre death of Corey Melton, the husband of Virginia’s friend Becky. Corey fell through a window on the 29th floor of the Godfrey Tower. This is odd because Corey worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority in a neighboring building. He was in charge of seizing properties to build a wind farm. Soon, Virginia determines that Becky is having an affair. The MDI team suspects Corey was murdered and discovers a multitude of suspects, ranging from a witch to a pseudo-therapist at Corey’s workplace. Then, the head of the TBI seeks to rehire Emory, in part to make the lawsuit that the ex-agent finally filed go away. In addition, the three sleuths must deal with encounters with a man in a ski mask. Emory, Jeff, and Virginia need to find Corey’s killer before one of them becomes the next victim. Wilson never lets readers forget there is more at play here than just one case to be solved. The man in the ski mask has returned to plague Jeff and Emory; the former agent’s dark history won’t stay in the past. Furthermore, Emory learns that Jeff has a big secret. That isn’t to say that the author gives short shrift to Corey’s murder, which is enjoyably convoluted, with many people having something to gain from his death. Wilson has also populated this book with delightful characters with an emphasis on diversity. MDI features two gay men still finding their way as a couple and a Black gal pal. Longtime Southerner Wilson makes the New South its own character, with players roaming from metropolitan Knoxville to a rural area that houses the planned wind farm. That makes for a colorful travelogue with an intriguing murder thrown in.

Captivating characters star in this mesmerizing whodunit packed with secrets.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-94-739239-7

Page Count: 286

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2021

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.


In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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