A murder mystery that sneaks up, takes hold and refuses to let go.


In Doss’ debut thriller, a lawyer and a medical investigator both suspect that an accidental death is actually the work of a calculating, meticulous killer.

When attorney Elliot Carter’s body is found hanging from a tree, police want to write off the death as autoerotic asphyxiation. But fellow lawyer Tom Halloran believes that his friend was murdered, and though physical evidence doesn’t support his theory, Hollis Joplin of the medical examiner’s office also has his doubts—especially after learning that Elliot’s estranged ex-wife–to-be, Anne, had hired a PI who’s suddenly missing. As Halloran and Joplin each begin an investigation into the mysterious death, Doss’ twisty, curvy plot dishes out the goods: scandalous secrets, including blackmail and extramarital affairs; another death or two that appear to be suicides; and a possible connection to a 20-year-old kidnapping case. The lengthy list of suspects is impressive, and readers won’t find it easy pinpointing the killer’s identity, since no single piece of evidence condemns or clears anyone. The clues, such as Elliot’s visit to a urologist prior to his death, merely push distrust from one person to the next. What makes Halloran and Joplin a fascinating duo is that they aren’t really a duo; they investigate the death—and, before long, deaths—separately. Though the men occasionally swap information, the novel is more often two perspectives of the same case: former cop Joplin, the professional, and Halloran, the novice, though the fact that he’s the executor of Elliot’s will gives him good reason to ask questions. Doss avoids repetition—readers don’t have to watch Halloran and Joplin uncover the same evidence—while providing plenty of drama for the men, since each has a personal link to someone who falls under suspicion. A love triangle with Joplin, resident pathologist Carrie and lady’s man/pathologist Jack can be distracting when it sidetracks Joplin, who’s clearly distraught that Carrie is attracted to Jack, from his investigation, but disrupting the thought process of a man with eidetic memory does add spice to the main storyline.

A murder mystery that sneaks up, takes hold and refuses to let go.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989093408

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Mayfair Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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