Further evidence, if any was needed, that all the author’s heroes are direct descendants of Edgar Allan Poe, whom Silvis’...

WALKING THE BONES

Will Sgt. Ryan DeMarco, already so traumatized in his first recorded case (Two Days Gone, 2017), ever fully rejoin the human race? Seven dead girls do their best to pull him back in.

Still haunted by the death of his friend professor Thomas Huston and his own troubled family history, DeMarco’s at the point of announcing his retirement from the Pennsylvania State Police when his lover, Trooper Jayme Matson, and his supervisor, Cmdr. Kyle Bowen, scheme to get him to take a temporary leave instead. Now that he’s got nothing to do but wrestle demons, from his estranged wife to their baby son, who was killed in a car accident, it seems as if it might be positively therapeutic for him to look into a case that swims into his ken during a visit to Jayme’s family in Aberdeen, Kentucky: the discovery four years ago of the skeletonized corpses of seven young women immured in a wall in the First Baptist Church. The victims, all African-American teenagers, had gone missing between 1998 and 2004. The local police had long given up the case, and the gruesome discovery provided no new leads they could follow. But a group of three elderly citizens calling themselves the Da Vinci Cave Irregulars think DeMarco and Jayme are just the people to solve a case that weighs as heavily on the town as DeMarco’s memories do on him. Although DeMarco quickly identifies four leading suspects—First Baptist pastor Eli Royce, former church caretaker Chad McGintey, Chad’s missing successor, Virgil Helm, and pedophile ex-teacher Aaron Henry—the investigation proceeds at a glacial pace. For every two steps forward, DeMarco takes three more steps back into his childhood abuse by his father and his continued mourning for his son. And no matter how keen his interest in the case becomes, it remains overshadowed by his fear: “I’m becoming my father.

Further evidence, if any was needed, that all the author’s heroes are direct descendants of Edgar Allan Poe, whom Silvis’ own fictionalizations of (Disquiet Heart, 2002, etc.) successfully dramatized without exorcising.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4691-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

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LONG RANGE

Once again, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets mixed up in a killing whose principal suspect is his old friend Nate Romanowski, whose attempts to live off the grid keep breaking down in a series of felony charges.

If Judge Hewitt hadn’t bent over to pick up a spoon that had fallen from his dinner table, the sniper set up nearly a mile from his house in the gated community of the Eagle Mountain Club would have ended his life. As it was, the victim was Sue Hewitt, leaving the judge alive and free to rail and threaten anyone he suspected of the shooting. Incoming Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Brendan Kapelow’s interest in using the case to promote his political ambitions and the judge’s inability to see further than his nose make them the perfect targets for a frame-up of Nate, who just wants to be left alone in the middle of nowhere to train his falcons and help his bride, Liv Brannon, raise their baby, Kestrel. Nor are the sniper, the sheriff, and the judge Nate’s only enemies. Orlando Panfile has been sent to Wyoming by the Sinaloan drug cartel to avenge the deaths of the four assassins whose careers Nate and Joe ended last time out (Wolf Pack, 2019). So it’s up to Joe, with some timely data from his librarian wife, Marybeth, to hire a lawyer for Nate, make sure he doesn’t bust out of jail before his trial, identify the real sniper, who continues to take an active role in the proceedings, and somehow protect him from a killer who regards Nate’s arrest as an unwelcome complication. That’s quite a tall order for someone who can’t shoot straight, who keeps wrecking his state-issued vehicles, and whose appalling mother-in-law, Missy Vankeuren Hand, has returned from her latest European jaunt to suck up all the oxygen in Twelve Sleep County to hustle some illegal drugs for her cancer-stricken sixth husband. But fans of this outstanding series will know better than to place their money against Joe.

One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53823-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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