Mejia’s (Everything You Want Me To Be, 2017) thrilling tale works both as an engaging mystery and a haunting meditation on...

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LEAVE NO TRACE

A young woman with a troubled past helps an unusual young man find his father in the beautiful but dangerous wilds of Minnesota.

Twenty-three-year-old speech therapist Maya Stark was lucky to get the job at the Congdon Psychiatric Facility considering that she used to be a patient there. After Maya’s mother, Jane, a geologist who fostered her daughter's love for the natural world, tried to kill herself and then disappeared, Maya lost her way, making a bad decision that led to a shocking act of violence and then to a stint at Congdon. But she got herself together, got her degree, and she loves her job. She’s even rebuilding her relationship with her father, though she finds it hard to let people get close to her. When 19-year-old Lucas Blackthorn is admitted after a burglary attempt, he seems to recognize Maya, but that would be impossible since he's spent the past 10 years off the grid after disappearing into the expansive Boundary Waters with his father, Josiah. His first encounter with Maya ends with a cord around her neck as he tries to escape, but Maya refuses to let the incident slow her down. Despite Lucas' aggressiveness, Maya is one of the few people he responds to, and her boss and former doctor assigns her to his case. Maya is surprised but undeniably intrigued and begins to look forward to her time with this sad young man. They eventually form a bond, and when Maya discovers that Lucas’ father is still alive but in danger, she finds she’s willing to do just about anything to get them back together before it’s too late. Bathed in shades of melancholy, Maya’s narration, woven in with Lucas and Josiah’s heartbreaking story, is a testament to resiliency, and when Maya reveals her secret—the event that led to her time in Congdon—it’s a shocker. But it’s her ability to endure and thrive that makes her so fascinating; she's actually quite a kick-ass when push comes to shove. Keep tissues handy for this one but be assured that, in the end, there is hope to be found.

Mejia’s (Everything You Want Me To Be, 2017) thrilling tale works both as an engaging mystery and a haunting meditation on grief, abandonment, and the lost places within ourselves. Brutal, devastating, and utterly riveting.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7736-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Emily Bestler/Atria

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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