It’s nice to report that Moe, who seems to live more deeply in his memories in every installment of his adventures, is...



The ninth time around the block for Brooklyn private eye Moe Prager (Hurt Machine, 2011, etc.) is a blast from the past in more ways than one.

Sloane Cantor isn’t really hollow. She just said she felt that way when she posted her tale of a traumatic jilting online back in 1999, when she was still in high school, and 911 phone banks lit up all over the city. It was all a lie—there was no Lionel who’d dumped her, no Victoria he had sex with in front of her—or, as Sloane would call it, an example of performance art. The furor at these revelations was so intense that Sloane changed her name to Siobhan Bracken when she moved to Manhattan. Now, she’s been missing from the East Village for a month, and her mother, Nancy Lustig, is worried. Since Nancy’s known Moe since his very first case, it makes sense for her to rope him into her search, especially since Moe, who’s hit bottom with the death of his fiancee, can use some distraction. What doesn’t make sense is Sloane’s, or Siobhan’s, behavior. She’s not dead; the woman whose corpse was found in her Houston Street apartment is that of her ex-lover, washed-up actress Millicent McCumber. And she’s once again headed for Web celebrity via a series of videos that show her bound and gagged, a photograph of an unidentifiable woman at her feet. Is she really in danger, or is this just another piece of performance art? And either way, what’s the point?

It’s nice to report that Moe, who seems to live more deeply in his memories in every installment of his adventures, is poised to escape his past at the end of this one. The out-of-the-blue revelations that wind up this atmospheric, bluesy case may leave readers less satisfied than he is.

Pub Date: May 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4405-6202-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tyrus Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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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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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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