Koenig’s second is a breathless dash from start to finish. Tough, prickly Julia is a noir heroine sure to take a prominent...

SOUTH OF NOWHERE

A woman with a rough past and an iffy future fights inner and outer demons.

Back in California, Julia Kalas laundered money for her husband. When he was killed by the Aryan Brotherhood, the witness protection program sent her to Azula, Texas. Kicked out of the program during her last adventure (Nine Days, 2014), she nominally works in the bar owned by her lover, Hector Guerra, but her main interest is renovating old buildings. Trouble comes her way when she finds a body under the floor of her most recent renovation job. Nine months earlier, Hector had taken off for Cuba with ex-sheriff John Maines, a private investigator who returned alone and now wants Julia to help him trace a woman who’s gone missing in Mexico, where she went for lap-band surgery. Since Julia’s on the chubby side, she’s perfect to go to the clinic as a prospective patient. She refuses to help until Police Chief Benny Ramirez starts looking at her as a suspect in the case of the dead body on her job. Though she’s worried because she blanks out and loses moments of time—her doctor wants her to see a shrink for possible PTSD—she takes off with John, his dog, and all her money, planning on losing herself in Mexico. Once she has a chance to look the clinic over, it’s clear something’s very wrong there. The missing girl may be just one of many murder victims, a series of crimes ignored by the government. Back in Azula, Julia makes the Most Wanted list, and things get a lot worse in border country, where it's impossible to know whom to trust. She discovers that Hector is back from Cuba, Maines is almost killed, and her past catches up to her in a meeting with the alcoholic Apache mother she hasn’t seen in years. Julia faces death on a daily basis as she attempts to get answers to many questions.

Koenig’s second is a breathless dash from start to finish. Tough, prickly Julia is a noir heroine sure to take a prominent place among female detectives.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-05195-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin (What Remains of Me, 2016, etc.) takes the gulf that naturally...

IF I DIE TONIGHT

After a hit-and-run kills a high school student, the court of public opinion convicts a lonely outcast.

When Jackie Reed hears her 17-year-old son, Wade, sneaking out the night before the SATs, she knows she should stop him; instead, she pops a Xanax and returns to bed. At 4 a.m., Jackie’s 13-year-old, Connor, wakes to find a rain-soaked Wade hiding something in his closet; he considers tattling but promises to keep quiet. These seemingly innocuous decisions come back to haunt Jackie and Connor the next morning. While Officer Pearl Maze was working the graveyard shift at the Havenkill, New York, police department, Amy Nathanson burst through the door claiming to have been carjacked. According to Amy, her screams summoned 17-year-old Liam Miller, whom the thief ran over during his escape. The cops canvass the neighborhood for witnesses, and the Reeds are stunned to realize that Wade matches the suspect’s description. Evidence mounts against him, and the community ostracizes his family, but still Wade refuses to divulge his whereabouts at the time of the accident. The book opens with Wade’s suicide note, then flashes back five days and unfolds from the perspectives of Jackie, Connor, Pearl, and Amy. This narrative shift maximizes suspense by forcing readers to guess at Wade’s thoughts and actions, allowing Gaylin to insightfully explore the crime’s ripple effects.

This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin (What Remains of Me, 2016, etc.) takes the gulf that naturally develops between teenagers and their families and stocks it with sharks.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-264111-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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