A well-crafted thriller that manages to be both timely and timeless.

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Fourplay

From the The Cleary Case Files series , Vol. 4

In the fourth book of the Cleary Case Files series, Clark (Third Breath, 2014, etc.) brings back FBI Special Agent Shawn Cleary in a gripping blend of terrorism, serial killers, and even a little romance.

Shawn’s life is in turmoil when this thriller opens. Mitchell Gant is about to go on trial for multiple murders, but his twin brother, Trevor, Shawn’s former partner, is still on the loose. He’s threatened everyone Shawn cares about, so she can’t relax yet: “Over the last six weeks, the feeling never abated, and she believed Trevor Gant lurked in the vicinity, ready to execute his next deadly assault.” Indeed, Trevor’s threat caused Shawn to separate from Nick, the man she loves, in order to keep him safe. To make matters worse, a terrorist cell has weaponized the Ebola virus and is planning to disperse it somewhere in a transportation system. Trevor manages to rig the trial and Mitchell gets off. Later, Shawn goes to arrest Mitchell for another set of murders and a firefight unexpectedly breaks out. This climactic incident leaves Trevor in an even worse frame of mind, but because he’s injured, he’s forced to flee. Shawn is badly hurt herself, but her pursuit of the terrorists brings her and Trevor together one more time. Clark’s greatest gift to readers is her breakneck pacing, which keeps the narrative flying along. Still, it zigs and zags along the way, taking unexpected turns, including the revelation of the terrorists’ ultimate choice of target. She doesn’t give short shrift to characterization, though, especially of Shawn, who cares deeply for those she loves while also being a tough agent near the top of her field. One quibble is that there isn’t much room for more than cameos of some people from previous volumes, including Sgt. Ed Pulaski and the vigilante group Patronus, but there’s still plenty of action and memorable characters to go around. The only real problem is that Clark ties up so many loose ends from earlier books that one wonders what’s left for Shawn to tackle next.

A well-crafted thriller that manages to be both timely and timeless.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2016

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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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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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