This fast-moving mystery injects thrills and sizzle into claims settlement.

DIRECT ELIMINATION

In this third installment of a series, a favor for a friend quickly turns into a serious headache.

In Norton’s tale, Boston insurance claims investigator Amy Lynch arranges for a homeowner’s policy through her company’s underwriting department for her boyfriend Pete’s cousin Andy. So naturally, Andy’s Dorchester apartment building soon is on fire. To make matters worse, Andy allowed an old friend’s fencing team to crash in a couple of empty apartments, and one of the athletes ends up dead in the cellar. Complicating the investigation are three items found in the cellar: bullets, marijuana, and, worst of all, the skeleton of a baby buried in a suitcase. Other wrinkles include a missing fencer, an abused woman, and a skulking drug dealer. That’s why Amy spends most of the novel out in the field, chasing down leads and avoiding uncomfortable questions back at the office. She leaves her capable assistant, Peggy, to run interference and do research for her. To complete her investigation, Amy must utilize acquaintances old and new: a nosy neighbor, a handsome arson investigator, an irascible detective, and a wise medical examiner. To solve this case, Amy has to go back decades to when it actually began. It’s a story that has a tragic beginning and a bittersweet ending. Leave it to Norton, who spent her entire career in the insurance industry, to make investigating claims seem exciting, a formidable task. This time out, after unearthing Nazi secrets in Paris in Dead Drop (2018), Amy is back on her home turf of Boston. That familiarity makes Amy more comfortable, as she has access to her support system, which includes Pete and Peggy. Amy even manages to hold her sharp tongue long enough to reach a truce with George, her office nemesis. The supporting cast is well developed, helping Amy to shine. The author’s foray into the world of fencing is intriguing yet has little to do with the mystery itself. But her narrative flies along pleasingly despite several zigs and zags along the way. Amy once again proves to be on point with her latest case.

This fast-moving mystery injects thrills and sizzle into claims settlement.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Stillwater River Publications

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2020

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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

ABANDONED IN DEATH

June 2061 is a perilous time for women in a downtown Manhattan neighborhood who happen to resemble a violent kidnapper’s mother.

The killer doesn’t seem to be trying to hide anything except his own identity. Ten days after snatching bartender Lauren Elder from the street as she walked home, he leaves her body, carefully dressed and made up, with even the gash in her throat meticulously stitched up and beribboned, where it’s sure to be found quickly, along with the chilling label “bad mommy.” When Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody realize that Anna Hobe, a server at a nearby karaoke bar who disappeared a week ago under similar circumstances, was probably another victim of the same perp, the clock begins ticking down even before they learn that assistant marketing manager Mary Kate Covino has gone missing as well. Dallas, Peabody, and the helpers who’ve made Robb’s long-lived franchise even more distinctive than its futuristic setting race to find the women or identify their kidnapper before he reverts once again to the 5-year-old abandoned by his mother many years ago. The emphasis this time is on investigative procedure, forensics (beginning with the Party Girl perfume and the Toot Sweet moisturizer the murderer uses on the corpses of his victims), and the broader danger women in every generation face from men who just can’t grow up.

A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7821-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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