The surprises are few but genuine, the police procedure appropriately grueling, and the back story jumbled but heartfelt....



A series of murders with century-old roots provides Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, of the Brighton and Hove Response Team, with another full plate.

On a dark night in Brooklyn 90 years ago, four members of the White Hand Gang, armed with baseball bats, hustled stevedore Brendan Daly out of his house after killing his wife, Sheenagh. The men left Daly’s son, Gavin, and his daughter, Aileen, alive, a Patek Philippe pocket watch their only legacy, wondering where their father disappeared to. Many years later, Aileen, now 98, is viciously attacked by home invaders who strip her Brighton home to the floorboards. Gavin, still formidable at 95, tells Grace that he doesn’t care about the millions of pounds worth of antiques the thieves made off with; he only wants that watch back. What Gavin really wants, of course, is information about his father, but Grace can’t help him there. In fact, all he can do, it seems, is watch while a series of fences and thugs are killed in the crossfire among Gavin; his estranged son, Lucas, with whom he’s seriously at odds; Lucas’ enormous Albanian henchman Augustine Krasniki, aka the Apologist; and yachtsman/gangster Eamonn Pollock. As the pot boils furiously, Grace’s domestic life is equally fraught. While he’s waiting for his wife, Sandy, who vanished 10 years ago, to be declared dead so that he can marry his live-in lover, Cleo Morey, and give her baby boy, Noah, a proper dad, Sandy is plotting her return from foreign parts. And Amis Smallbone, the longtime home invader who emerged from prison in Not Dead Yet (2012), is cackling to himself as he plots condign revenge against Grace.

The surprises are few but genuine, the police procedure appropriately grueling, and the back story jumbled but heartfelt. Middling for this strong, starchy series, which increasingly deserves to be measured against the best in the genre.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-03018-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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