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The three Samuelson sisters are brought together to solve a series of puzzles after the untimely death of their mother and bring light to the mystery of her demise as well as a string of peculiar murders.

With the help of infantile, mother-of-two sister Rachel and rigid detective sister Sally, not to mention a cute teddy bear that their mother, Mattie, had been stitching before her drowning, big sister Heather finds clues that lead her to believe that her mother had been looking to put a stop to the strange deaths that had been occurring in her Oregon community. Eickelberg, a native Oregonian, uses crafty tricks as she delves into the minds of three sisters who are intent on finding out what the mysterious message tucked inside the stuffed animal has to do with the inexplicable drowning of their mother. Brainteasers mark the end of each chapter, and the author, an avid lover of riddles, invites readers to submit to unconventional word games and challenges that give way to clues about what comes next. Using comical imagery to describe the senior citizens at her mother’s residence, the frightening—but sexy—biker who is suddenly interested in their case and other strange people in the community, Eickelberg covertly guides the “Samuelson Sleuths” along their way as the sisters frequent their mother’s senior center and its surrounding neighborhood in hopes of unearthing a secret and unveiling a killer. Charmingly, cunningly twisting and turning, the story centers around the curious teddy bear and guides readers toward a clever conclusion that they can almost veer toward on their own. The brainteasers and puzzles are fun and easy, but serve as a slight distraction to a fun and easy read. The most enjoyable part is dissecting the puzzles to find out their part in the deaths that have been taking place. Eickelberg’s bizarre characters and thought-provoking puzzles will keep mystery fans turning the pages.

Pub Date: July 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-1458200099

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Abbott

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2012

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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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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