A bestseller in England making its U.S. debut, Jónasson's whodunit puts a lively, sophisticated spin on the Agatha Christie...
In the isolated Icelandic fishing village of Siglufjörður, a rookie cop newly transplanted from Reykjavík has his mettle tested by the claustrophobic conditions—and a murder.
The cop, 24-year-old Ari Thór Arason, impulsively left behind his medical school girlfriend and theological studies to join the police force in the small rural community. When aged author Hrólfur Kristjánsson is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs, reeking of alcohol, everyone assumes it was "just an accident." But Hrólfur, chairman of the Dramatic Society, had clashed with the director of its latest production the day before its scheduled opening. And the celebrated author's death isn't the only shocking news in a town where Ari is told nothing happens. A partially unclad young woman is found unconscious in her snowy garden, the victim of a brutal attack. As the 24-hour darkness presses down on relentlessly snowed-on Siglufjörður, and then an avalanche closes off the town even more, the dual investigations take on a surreal quality. The first of Jonasson's Dark Iceland novels to be translated into English gets off to a clunky start. But the author settles into a page-turning groove, emulating his hero, Agatha Christie (14 of whose novels he's translated into Icelandic), by skillfully switching points of view and casting about for murder motives. While there's nothing fresh about the plot, the increasingly gloomy setting—a reflection of the tragic losses nearly all the characters, including Ari, have experienced—provides its own distinctive edge.A bestseller in England making its U.S. debut, Jónasson's whodunit puts a lively, sophisticated spin on the Agatha Christie model, taking it down intriguing dark alleys.
Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by James Patterson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 5, 2003
As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...
Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.
According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.
Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003
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