by R.G. Belsky ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2020
Readers sucked in by the torrid pace may well overlook the ramshackle plotting. Even the final surprise falls flat.
The murder of her first boss and mentor leads Channel 10 News director Clare Carlson (Below the Fold, 2019, etc.) to a serial killer of the worst kind: the one whose victims have never been connected to each other.
Newspaper editor Martin Barlow may have retired, but he still can’t resist a great story. And this one, he tells Clare, is “the biggest story of my life,” one that starts with New York District Attorney Terri Hartwell and leads to “more than one murder. Maybe lots of them.” When Marty’s beaten to death the next day outside the town house where he lives with his daughter’s family, Clare knows she has to follow the hints he’s left her about the wraithlike killer he’s dubbed The Wanderer. But she can’t imagine what Hartwell’s rumored political aspirations have to do with the stabbing of high school cheerleader Becky Bluso in Eckersville, Indiana, nearly 30 years ago. Her brief visit to a Chelsea house of rough-sex prostitution reveals nothing more substantive than a warning that there’s no story here and she should lay off it. Although she uses her relationship with her married ex-lover, Scott Manning, who’s now with the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit, to maneuver herself into the FBI investigation of five murders linked by DNA, her attempt to link backroom political operative Russell Danziger, who’s been working with Hartwell, backfires when his own DNA isn’t a match. Meanwhile, she frets about getting scooped, getting fired, and getting shut out by Linda Nesbitt, the daughter in Virginia she’s never acknowledged as hers. Buffeted by a perfect storm of crimes ranging from political shenanigans to serial homicide, Clare can only hope that “a big story always made everything better.”Readers sucked in by the torrid pace may well overlook the ramshackle plotting. Even the final surprise falls flat.
Pub Date: May 5, 2020
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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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 C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...
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
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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