Another adventure for Caffery, a protagonist much like James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux or Paul Cleave’s Theo Tate, doomed...

WOLF

Hayder (Hanging Hill, 2012, etc.) once again lures DI Jack Caffery into evil’s morass.

Oliver Anchor-Ferrers owns Turrets, an English country estate in Somerset. Arriving with wife Matilda, daughter Lucia and their dog, Bear, Oliver intends to recuperate after heart-valve surgery. While clearing the garden, Matilda discovers a string of intestines "draped almost delicately in the bushes," a discovery mimicking the residue left after a gruesome killing 15 years past. Back then, Lucia’s teenage boyfriend and another girl were murdered and disemboweled. Hayder’s story is complex, with narrative threads leading from the old murder; from the present, as the Anchor-Ferrers are held captive and tortured; and from the muddied mind of Caffery, who stumbles into the murderous affair as he searches out his own demons. Rural Somerset comes alive, with the lush green growth, the rain, and the cranky, isolated Victorian estate beyond cellphone coverage. Fueled by whisky, e-cigarettes and indifference to authority, Caffery’s the archetypical angst-driven hero, obsessed by the pedophile ring that kidnapped his brother decades earlier. It's the Walking Man, an itinerant loner who obsessively circles the site of his own daughter’s murder, who finds the dog, Bear, with the message "Help Us" attached to his collar. That draws Caffery into the hostage situation. Sexual obsession, rejection as fuel for violence and revenge on the part of an arms dealer all add to a chilling, ominous atmosphere in which mangled characters lurk—Ian the Geek and Honig, the captors; the retired colonel who lives nearby with a wheelchair-bound wife and a nurse in his bed; and Oliver, fraught with fractured mortality after his heart operation and yet strong enough to puzzle out the source of the obscene bloodlust. 

Another adventure for Caffery, a protagonist much like James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux or Paul Cleave’s Theo Tate, doomed to work "in the presence of evil."

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2250-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Why you double-crossing little double crossers! Fiendishly clever.

PRETTY THINGS

The daughter of a grifter plans to fund her mother’s cancer treatment with a revenge con.

Rich people suck, don’t they? Nina Ross found this out in her adolescence, when her romance with Benny Liebling was broken up by his status-obsessed, old-money father, who found them screwing in the guest cottage of the family’s Lake Tahoe estate. Back then, Nina had a future—but she’s since followed her con-artist mother into the family business with the help of a handsome blue-eyed Irish confederate named Lachlan. “Here’s my rule,” Nina tells him. “Only people who have too much, and only people who deserve it.” Of course, he agrees. “We take only what we need.” With her art history background, Nina is usually able to target a few expensive antiques they can lift without the rich dopes even noticing they’re gone. But now that Nina's mother is hovering at death’s door without health insurance, she’s going after the $1 million in cash Benny mentioned was in his father’s safe all those years ago. So back to Lake Tahoe it is. The older Lieblings are dead, and Benny’s in the bin, so it’s his sister Vanessa Liebling who is the target of the complicated caper. Vanessa is a terribly annoying character—“I couldn’t tell you how I went from a few dozen Instagram followers to a half-million. One day, you’re uploading photos of your dog wearing sunglasses; and the next you’re begin flown to Coachella on a private jet with four other social media It Girls…”—but, in fact, you’ll hate everyone in this book. That is surely Brown’s (Watch Me Disappear, 2017, etc.) intention as she’s the one making them natter on this way. She also makes them vomit much more than is normal, whether it’s because they’re poisoning each other or because they’re just so horrified by each other’s behavior. Definitely stay to see how it all turns out.

Why you double-crossing little double crossers! Fiendishly clever.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-47912-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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