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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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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