Good LA atmosphere, people worth caring about, lots of corpses, and at least one killer too many.

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DEEP INTO THE DARK

After 10 chronicles of the crime-solving adventures of the madcap partners in Minneapolis’ Monkeewrench Software, Tracy shifts dramatically to focus on a spate of killings on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile.

Stella Clary is the third woman to be gutted by a murderer who’s shown no interest in molesting his victims sexually. Although LAPD homicide detectives Margaret Nolan and Al Crawford are under pressure to bring in the perp, they can’t even figure out how he escapes the blood-drenched crime scenes without getting noticed. And things are about to get worse. The morning after event promoter Ryan Gallagher settles an argument with his girlfriend, Pearl Club waitress Melody Traeger, by punching her out, someone breaks into her apartment and leaves two dozen red roses behind. A peace offering, she thinks, but Ryan insists they weren’t from him, and a day later he’s dead too, leaving Melody both traumatized and thoroughly creeped out by the black Jeep she’s convinced is stalking her. Sam Easton, the Pearl Club’s barback, takes Melody under his wing even though he’s got problems of his own, from extensive physical and mental scarring from a car bomb he was the only GI to survive to his haunting by Ronald Doerr, who served with him in Afghanistan, to his recent breakup with his wife, Yukiko, who’s about to get killed herself and make Sam a prime suspect. Detective Remy Beaudreau, who wants to buy Nolan a drink and take her home with him, doesn’t believe in coincidences, and brother, is he in the wrong book.

Good LA atmosphere, people worth caring about, lots of corpses, and at least one killer too many.

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2507-5494-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Slow moving and richly layered.

THE SEARCHER

A retired cop takes one last case in this stand-alone novel from the creator of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Originally from North Carolina, Cal Hooper has spent the last 30 years in Chicago. “A small place. A small town in a small country”: That’s what he’s searching for when he moves to the West of Ireland. His daughter is grown, his wife has left him, so Cal is on his own—until a kid named Trey starts hanging around. Trey’s brother is missing. Everyone believes that Brendan has run off just like his father did, but Trey thinks there’s more to the story than just another young man leaving his family behind in search of money and excitement in the city. Trey wants the police detective who just emigrated from America to find out what’s really happened to Brendan. French is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few. Cal is a new arrival to an insular community, and he’s about to discover that he didn’t leave crime and violence behind when he left the big city. Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French's latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments.

Slow moving and richly layered.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-73-522465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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An unmissable thriller.

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THE CHAIN

For every child kidnapped, another must be taken. Otherwise The Chain will be broken.

Thirteen-year-old Kylie is waiting for the school bus on Plum Island, Massachusetts, when a man and a woman pull up wearing ski masks. Her brain tells her to run, but she doesn’t make the correct split-second decision, and she is taken at gunpoint. Her mother, Rachel, then receives a call that she is now part of The Chain. She must pay a ransom and kidnap another family’s child, and then that family must do the same for her daughter to be released. No law enforcement, no politicians, no journalists. The Chain cannot be broken or the children—her child, her Kylie—will be executed. While Rachel scrambles to get the money together (even though it isn’t about the money, she is told) and pick a child to steal, it becomes clear that she is being tracked and her every move is being monitored. She can’t do this, she must do this, she is now a completely different person who has done this. Inspired by the “exchange kidnappings” that take place in Mexico and the old-school chain letters of his childhood, crime novelist McKinty (Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, 2017, etc.) takes what at first seems like a fantastical scenario and imbues it with all the terror, stress, trauma, and messiness of reality. At once a commentary on social media, greed, revenge, love, and true evil, and written with an almost lyrical quality, this book will have readers searching for more McKinty titles to devour.

An unmissable thriller.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53126-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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