“Never thought we’d get this kind of thing come into Paradise,” sagely opines a regular who’s somehow missed the previous 16...



Swearing that he’s taken his last drink, alcoholic Paradise police chief Jesse Stone returns from the two months in rehab that followed his traumatic last case (Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet, 2017) to battle a white supremacist and investigate an assault that looks uncomfortably familiar.

The festivities welcoming Jesse back range from the wary greetings of Officer Molly Crane, who never wanted to serve as acting chief, to the skulking of Cole Slayton, whose gallons of attitude make no secret of why he’s been tossed in jail as drunk and disorderly. But Jesse’s most immediate problem concerns African-American Harvard doctoral student Felicity Wileford, who’s been beaten and raped in an assault that looks sadly reminiscent of Jesse’s first murder case in Paradise nearly 20 years ago. The burning of a cross outside Jesse’s old house, now home to Boston physician Ron Patel and his blonde wife, Liza, makes Jesse wonder if someone isn’t specifically targeting interracial couples for harassment—a suspicion that’s intensified by the appearance of a bunch of leaflets from a white supremacist group calling itself the Saviors of Society (the SS for short, in case you miss the point). Jesse and his department quickly lean on witnesses who might be more than witnesses, but Leon Oskar Vandercamp, the self-styled Colonel behind the SS, is equally efficient about getting a long-unidentified soldier who works for him to tie up every loose end with extreme prejudice. The plot thickens when Alisha Davis, the first African-American woman on Jesse's police force, is lured into pursuing a fleeing suspect into a blind alley from which she emerges accused by the authorities of an unjustified shooting and by the Colonel and his creatures of inciting the very same racial hatred that’s clearly been directed against her.

“Never thought we’d get this kind of thing come into Paradise,” sagely opines a regular who’s somehow missed the previous 16 installments. Coleman sounds nothing like Robert B. Parker, but if you can accept a truly far-fetched premise, this will keep franchise fans more than satisfied.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-57494-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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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

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 quirky and distinctive heroine headlines this fun and fast-paced thriller loaded with cinematic flourishes.


Murder and mayhem plague a film set on a secluded island off the coast of Delaware in Little’s (Dear Daughter, 2015, etc.) sophomore thriller.

When film editor Marissa Dahl takes a job on a new film directed by the talented but temperamental Tony Rees, she’s not given a script and must sign a mile-long nondisclosure agreement. It’s not ideal, but she needs the work. Escorted by an attractive ex–Navy SEAL named Isaiah, Marissa arrives on Kickout Island to find a bustling set, headquartered at a beautiful hotel, that is cloaked in secrecy and beset with dysfunction. Once Marissa gets down to work, she realizes that picking up the slack from the previous editor, who was fired for unknown reasons, won’t be smooth sailing and that the movie is based on the real-life unsolved murder of aspiring actress Caitlyn Kelly 25 years ago on that very island. Most folks assume that an eccentric ferry captain named Billy Lyle, a friend of Caitlyn’s, was the killer, but there was never enough evidence to convict. A few people, however, think he may be innocent. Marissa sets out to discover what really happened to Caitlyn with the help of Isaiah and two intrepid, tech-savvy 13-year-olds—Grace Portillo and Suzy Koh, whose parents work for the hotel. What she finds is a dead body and a whole lot of trouble. Readers fascinated with the behind-the-scenes machinations of a movie set will be enthralled, plus there’s a frisson of romantic tension between Isaiah and Marissa, and the island setting lends some spooky atmosphere. Snippets from Grace and Suzy’s true-crime podcast, Dead Ringer, are also sprinkled throughout. Though a killer on the loose adds a fair bit of urgency in the second half, the main focus is on Little’s singular narrator. Marissa relates to the world primarily through film and considers herself anything but typical: “It’s possible I’ve spent so much time watching movies that the language of film has infiltrated some primal, necessary part of my brain. I catch myself processing my own emotions in scenes, in shots, in dialogue.”

A quirky and distinctive heroine headlines this fun and fast-paced thriller loaded with cinematic flourishes.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-670-01639-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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