A gut-wrenching tale filled with empathy for alienated teens. This may be the best yet in a first-rate series.

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THE WATCHER IN THE WALL

A fast-paced thriller in which Windermere and Stevens (The Stolen Ones, 2015, etc.) must stop the Internet predator who’s persuading teens to commit suicide.

FBI agent Carla Windermere partners again with Special Agent Kirk Stevens of Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Adrian Miller, a high school classmate of Stevens’ daughter, commits suicide, and soon both agents are searching for possible connections with other suicides. Someone is putting the kids up to it, and readers soon see who. “It started with the hole in the wall” for 15-year-old Randall Gruber, who spied on his stepsister, Sarah, in their double-wide trailer and “resented that she was so happy.” Stepdad Earl terrorized Randall, who found a way to secretly goad Sarah into committing suicide, which he watched with great pleasure through the hole. Meanwhile, the agents discover that someone is targeting alienated teenagers on the online Death Wish forum and grooming them for self-destruction. He tells them that he's fed up with life, too, and says they should kill themselves together. But first he has to watch them do it, via a webcam: "I need to watch you or I won't have the guts to do it myself." It's Gruber, of course, though the agents don't know it yet; after the kids commit suicide, he sells the videos. Windermere and Stevens set up a fake profile to lure the predator and rescue the teens. They’re relentless, especially Windermere, who barely contains her fury. She even browbeats a judge into admitting the issue is criminal activity and not free speech. And when Gruber thinks he has the best of Windermere, she keeps coming at him—“The bitch just wouldn’t take a hint.” No indeed, and that’s why her colleagues call her Supercop and why she's such a wonderful series character. Either she or the perp is going down, and it damned well won’t be her. She’s African-American, by the way, but that factors little into the series so far.

A gut-wrenching tale filled with empathy for alienated teens. This may be the best yet in a first-rate series.

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17454-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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

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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