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THE MAZE

A well-done crime yarn but not for the straight-laced or those prone to fantods.

Book 8 in DeMille’s John Corey series unlocks a complex murder mystery set on Fire Island.

The jokes start right away: “You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning.” Corey is a former NYPD homicide detective, and he's currently "NYU—New York Unemployed." He has plenty of enemies, like the Russian SVR intelligence service, which wants him dead—but waiting for that plotline to develop is like waiting for Godot. Ex-lover Det. Beth Penrose conveys an offer that he become a consultant to Security Solutions Investigative Services, “a very tacky private investigative agency” located on Suffolk County farmland with a giant hedge maze as a neighbor. Though Beth doesn't say so, the plan seems to be that Corey will be her confidential informant, getting inside Security Solutions to learn if it has any connection to the killings of nine young Long Island women. Security Solutions is a fun-loving outfit, with after-hours parties like Thirsty Thursdays. You’ve got your booze, your broads with names like Tiffany, your cops both present and ex, your politicians, a disbarred lawyer—fertile and dangerous grounds for Corey’s snooping. Like the maze, the plot has “twisting paths with lots of dead ends,” but “you have to wake up real early to pull one over on John Corey.” But before the guns start blasting, he fires his “pocket rocket” into a willing woman, a suspect named Amy. “Emission accomplished,” he later muses. Ah yes, Corey has a million sex jokes that would have teenagers TikTok-ing “ROFLMAO.” Are there nude beaches in Bermuda? He’d love to check out the Bermuda triangles. Is tonight “poker night? Or poke her night?” And why do strippers have names like Tiffany and not Best Buy? Anyway, Corey hasn’t settled down with a woman: “Ospreys mate for life,” he states. “But are they happy?” Oh yes, again with the plot: There’s a tough, unsolved murder case with interlocking crimes and suspects that ends in a fiery finish.

A well-done crime yarn but not for the straight-laced or those prone to fantods.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0178-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

The ne’er-do-well son of a successful Irish American family gets dragged into criminal complications that suggest the rest of the Devlins aren’t exactly the upstanding citizens they appear.

The first 35 years in the life of Thomas “TJ” Devlin have been one disappointment after another to his parents, lawyers who founded a prosperous insurance and reinsurance firm, and his more successful siblings, John and Gabby. A longtime alcoholic who’s been unemployable ever since he did time for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend Carrie’s then 2-year-old daughter, TJ is nominally an investigator for Devlin & Devlin, but everyone knows the post is a sinecure. Things change dramatically when golden-boy John tells TJ that he just killed Neil Lemaire, an accountant for D&D client Runstan Electronics. Their speedy return to the murder scene reveals no corpse, so the brothers breathe easier—until Lemaire turns up shot to death in his car. John’s way of avoiding anything that might jeopardize his status as heir apparent to D&D is to throw TJ under the bus, blaming him for everything John himself has done and adding that you can’t trust anything his brother has said since he’s fallen off the wagon. TJ, who’s maintained his sobriety a day at a time for nearly two years, feels outraged, but neither the police investigating the murder nor his nearest and dearest care about his feelings. Forget the forgettable mystery, whose solution will leave you shrugging instead of gasping, and focus on the circular firing squad of the Devlins, and you’ll have a much better time than TJ.

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780525539704

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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