A page-turner that keeps you reading, with well-drawn characters who make it a pleasure.

A GAME OF MINDS

A forensic psychiatrist juggles two cases while dealing with turmoil in her own life.

Even though it's been over a year since her boyfriend, Grant, walked out, Claire Roget attends the funeral of his sister, who died from cystic fibrosis. As she's leaving, she gets a phone call from DS Zed Willard, who begs her to help a dying man whose daughter vanished six years ago find closure. The police have always thought 14-year-old Marvel Trustrom was a victim of serial killer Jonah Kobi, who admitted to killing four schoolgirls in the potteries area of England but not Marvel. After looking over the case files, Claire agrees to interview Kobi, a former schoolteacher, thus kicking off a cat-and-mouse game of hints and denials. Since Kobi’s already serving a life sentence, Claire has no obvious way of influencing him. She finds him clever, annoying, and possibly innocent of Marvel’s presumed death. In the meantime, Grant is working to renew their relationship, but Claire has had trust issues ever since her father deserted the family and her mother, happily remarried, continued to blame Claire. She’s also worried about Ilsa Robinson, one of her patients at the psychiatric hospital who’s a Danish beauty whose wealthy husband seems to be afraid of her. Ilsa wants to return home to her young son but claims her husband is having an affair with her best friend. Pressured to release her, Claire is conflicted about the wisdom of the decision. Every meeting with Kobi gets her deeper into a case that’s finally resolved with explosive results.

A page-turner that keeps you reading, with well-drawn characters who make it a pleasure.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7278-9082-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

OCEAN PREY

No oceans in Minnesota, you say? That won’t stop Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, who are clearly determined to burn through their bucket list on the federal government’s dime.

The murders of three Coast Guard officers chasing a suspicious boat in Florida waters by crooks who set fire to the boat moments after abandoning it send shock waves through the DEA, the FBI, and eventually the U.S. Marshals Service. In short order Lucas and his colleague and pal Bob Matees find themselves on a task force Florida Sen. Christopher Colles convenes to find the drugs the fugitives managed to dump into the Atlantic before they shot their pursuers and arrest everyone in sight. The duo’s modus operandi seems to be to talk to everyone who’s seen anything, and then talk to everyone they’ve mentioned, and so on, taking regular breaks to drink, reminisce, and swap wisecracks. Everything is so relaxed and routine that fans of this long-running series will just know that Sandford has something more up his sleeve, and he does. Eventually the task force’s net widens to make room for Virgil, who, working with Marshal Rae Givens, hires himself out to the criminals as a diver who can retrieve those drugs while Lucas and his allies work their way higher and higher up the food chain of baddies. The cast is enormous and mostly forgettable, but Sandford manages to work up a full head of steam when Lucas realizes that his scorched-earth tactics have put Virgil and Rae in serious danger.

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-08702-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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