Though its climax couldn’t possibly live up to the harrowing story it ends, French’s legion of fans will rejoice that she’s...

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THE DAY OF THE DEAD

French closes the saga of consulting psychologist Frieda Klein with the story of a criminology student who, casting around for a topic for her dissertation, chooses “In the Footsteps of Dr. Klein,” a choice that turns her life into a nightmare.

Lola Hayes has no idea what to write about for her final paper at the University of London’s Guildhall College. Her lazy adviser, hearing her say, “I’d much rather write about people than ideas or science,” directs her: “You want a person?...Here’s a person. Have you ever heard of Frieda Klein?” Lola hasn’t, but she reads up on Frieda, talks to her archenemy, Guildhall profiler professor Hal Bradshaw, and eventually tracks her down. That’s no mean feat in itself, since Frieda, pursued once more by monumentally patient serial killer Dean Reeve, has gone into hiding, and even her closest friends don’t know or won’t say where. Apart from his earlier track record, there’s good reason for Frieda to fear Reeve, who’s started to kill more or less random people in order to flush her out of hiding so she can protect the next innocent. One victim is found after his car crashes through a shop window; another’s bicycle is struck by a hit-and-run driver; a third turns up dead on Hampstead Heath. DC Dan Quarry and his new boss, DCI Bill Dugdale, have yet to realize that Dean Reeve is behind the latest round of mayhem. After Frieda agrees to take in Lola, she agrees to meet Reeve alone in a place he’s picked, and Lola, frantic to prevent what she sees as Frieda’s suicidal acquiescence, acts to protect her. Ungrateful Frieda promises her: “One day you’ll want to get in a time machine, come back and stop yourself doing what you did today.” If anything, that turns out to be an understatement.

Though its climax couldn’t possibly live up to the harrowing story it ends, French’s legion of fans will rejoice that she’s capped her memorable week of thrillers (Sunday Silence, 2017, etc.) with this nerve-shredding eighth day.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267670-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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