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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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