A nifty series kickoff featuring a hard look at the corrosive atmosphere tearing the country apart.

LIVE, LOCAL, AND DEAD

A small-town radio jock gets involved in big-time murder.

DJ Jaye Jordan has bought a radio station in a Vermont town near the home of her ex-husband, David, the father of her daughter, Ryan. She’s dumped the divisive talk show hosted by ranting right-winger Edwin Anger, instead focusing on requests for mostly romantic songs. Fed up with being picketed by Anger’s two fans in town, she relieves her stress by shooting the head off a nearby snowman only to find Anger’s corpse concealed within. Jaye is too well liked for the townsfolk to consider her a serious suspect as Anger’s killer, but the nasty assistant who’s bucking for his job stirs up his base of crazies, and she soon receives tons of hate mail from writers whose cries grow even louder when they discover she’d converted to Judaism upon marrying David. Luckily, Will Ten Broeck, one of her big supporters, is the governor of Vermont, a descendant of Dutch settlers, a true Knickerbocker, and a moderate Republican who’s easy on the eye. Their friendship slowly blossoms into a romantic relationship as he and her neighbors stand behind her in the battle with Anger’s followers. When Anger’s death is proven to be murder, Jaye’s friends, along with a friendly, flatulent moose and all of David’s relatives, pitch in to support love over hate and solve the crime.

A nifty series kickoff featuring a hard look at the corrosive atmosphere tearing the country apart.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64385-945-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A superficially gripping but psychologically unconvincing thriller.

SLEEPLESS

In present-day Germany, a woman burdened with the darkest of secrets from her brutal childhood becomes an unwitting participant in a fatal game of murder and deceit.

“You become normal by doing normal things,” Nadja Kulka’s therapist tells her, and for the most part the technique has worked. Nadja has a good job in the office of one of Berlin’s most successful lawyers and a secure if barren personal life. “I’m the woman who sits at the open window of her kitchen when she sees that her neighbour has friends over again on a Saturday night,” she explains. Social gatherings cause Nadja acute anxiety, and when the novel opens, she is in the grip of a panic attack that causes her to faint at a gas station and then to flee back onto the motorway, fearing that onlookers may have called the police. But why? And why is she wearing a blond wig? In this feverish, relentlessly tense novel, the answers to those and many other questions lie tangentially in Nadja’s past—to which the narrative cyclically returns—but more immediately in a sudden act of violence into which she is cruelly drawn. As dastardly events unfold, we are kept on edge not only by the author’s initially skillful evocation of Nadja’s troubled consciousness, but also by the novel’s restless shuttling between past and present. The eventual cinching together of near and distant events is clumsily handled, however, and the denouement utterly overwrought. A parallel plot involves the yearnings of a young woman who longs to escape her hometown backwater, embarks on an affair with a married visitor to her family’s inn, and pays a terrible price for her longings. Rather than enriching the novel, however, this drama, though potentially engrossing, seems more like a distraction.

A superficially gripping but psychologically unconvincing thriller.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-82479-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

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THE DARK HOURS

Meet today’s LAPD, with both good and bad apples reduced to reacting to crimes defensively instead of trying to prevent them, unless of course they’re willing to break the rules.

New Year’s Eve 2020 finds Detective Renée Ballard, survivor of rape and Covid-19, partnered with Detective Lisa Moore, of Hollywood’s Sexual Assault Unit, in search of leads on the Midnight Men, a tag team of rapists who assaulted women on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve without leaving any forensic evidence behind. The pair are called to the scene of a shooting that would have gone to West Bureau Homicide if the unit weren’t already stretched to the limit, a case that should be handed over to West Bureau ASAP. But Ballard gets her teeth into the murder of body shop owner Javier Raffa, who reportedly bought his way out of the gang Las Palmas. The news that Raffa’s been shot by the same weapon that killed rapper Albert Lee 10 years ago sends Ballard once more to Harry Bosch, the poster boy for retirements that drive the LAPD crazy. Both victims had taken on silent partners in order to liquidate their debts, and there’s every indication that the partners were linked. That’s enough for Ballard and Bosch to launch a shadow investigation even as Ballard, abandoned by Moore, who’s flown the coop for the weekend, works feverishly to identify the Midnight Men on her own. As usual in this stellar series, the path to the last act is paved with false leads, interdepartmental squabbles, and personal betrayals, and the structure sometimes sways in the breeze. But no one who follows Ballard and Bosch to the end will be disappointed.

A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48564-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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