An uneven mystery fails a charming, amateur detective.

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BARGAIN HUNTING

The third in Pollero’s Finley Anderson Tanner mystery series has Finley finding love, bargains and bullets flying her way.

A paralegal at a swanky Palm Beach law firm, Finley has finally moved from estates to criminal law, where all the action is. But it may prove to be a bit more action than she envisioned. Late one night, Liam McGarrity, the law firm’s sexy PI, knocks on her door with a bullet wound in his side and his dishy ex-wife holding him up. Liam was set up: Called to his ex-partner’s house (Liam used to be a police officer before he had to resign in disgrace under suspicious circumstances), Liam arrives to find José dead, someone shooting at him and his old police-issue gun on the floor. What unravels is a plot that implicates drug lords, the police’s gang unit and maybe even the district attorney. Meanwhile, things heat up between Finley and Liam, but Finley can’t get over the constant presence of his ex-wife, Ashley. And not to be forgotten is her boss, Tony, a kind widower with a teenage daughter, who may be a better fit than sexy, dangerous Liam. Pollero delivers a by-the-numbers procedural mixed with the conventions of the chick-lit universe. The novel’s title, far from referencing the plot, describes Finley's pastime of trolling eBay for designer duds (in between shoot-em-up excitement, Finley keeps an eye on her bid for a diamond Rolex bevel). When getting dressed, to visit a gang leader in prison, say, we are treated to a quick rundown of her designer choices. These details feel thrown together and hardly distract from a mystery that is easily solved. Finley is a likable character: a little lazy, a little vain, a little conflicted about the kind of man she wants; now if only she had a better mystery to solve.   

An uneven mystery fails a charming, amateur detective.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4165-9082-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Inside this bloated novel is a lean thriller starring a strong and damaged protagonist who's as compelling as Lisbeth...

THE THIRD TO DIE

In Brennan’s (Nothing To Hide, 2019, etc.) new series launch, a hard-edged female LAPD undercover cop and an ambitious FBI special agent race to catch a serial killer before he strikes again.

On paid administrative leave since an incident with a suspect went wrong, a restless Detective Kara Quinn is on an early morning run in her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, when she discovers the flayed corpse of a young nurse. In D.C., FBI Special Agent in Charge Mathias Costa is staffing the new Mobile Response Team, designed to cover rural areas underserved by law enforcement, when his boss assigns Matt and analyst Ryder Kim to Liberty Lake. The notorious Triple Killer, who murders three random victims, three days apart, every three years, has returned. With only six days to identify and catch the culprit, and only three days until he kills again, the team is “on a very tight clock.” What should be on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense turns into a slog marred by pedestrian prose (“she heard nothing except birds chirping…”), a convoluted plot slowed down by a focus on dull bureaucratic infighting, and flat character development. The sole exception is the vividly drawn Kara. Smart, angry, defensive, complicated, she fascinates both the reader and Matt ("Kara Quinn was different—and he couldn’t put his finger on why”).

Inside this bloated novel is a lean thriller starring a strong and damaged protagonist who's as compelling as Lisbeth Salander.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7783-0944-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Sluggish plot hemmed in by too much backstory and going-through-the-motions prose. Not Brown’s best.

WHITE HOT

Lukewarm thriller from bestselling Brown (Hello, Darkness, 2003, etc.).

Sayre Hoyle doesn’t believe her brother Danny committed suicide, and she’s returned home to prove it—but it seems nothing ever changes in Destiny, Louisiana. The small town looks the same as ever, and the same good old boys are sitting in the same vinyl booths at the same diner, conniving and backstabbing and telling lies. Too bad one of them just happens to be Sayre’s daddy, Huff Hoyle. A self-made rich man in a poor parish, he owns a smoke-belching iron foundry, a hellish place that at least provides employment for the beaten-down men of Destiny. If industrial accidents do happen in one of ’em now and then, well, that’s God’s will. Tough-talking Huff don’t want the government OSHA boys anywhere near his foundry, and that goes double for union organizers and other un-American busybodies. Sayre’s heard it all before—and still doesn’t trust either him or her creepy older brother, Chris, who took so much pleasure in tormenting her when they were young. And there’s Huff’s new right-hand man, lawyer Beck Merchant, to contend with. What exactly does Beck stand to gain by his involvement with Huff and cronies? If only he weren’t so good-looking and sexy. . . . Back to the story: Did Slap Watkins, jug-eared, degenerate scion of inbred bayou-dwellers, kill gentleman Danny in a fit of rage when Danny refused to hire Slap’s fellow parolees? Nah. Slap doesn’t have the brains or coordination to kill a June bug. Back to the subplot: Will the tyrannical Huff resort to violence when his ironworkers defy him and go out on strike? And back to the reason Sayre hates Huff: He forced her to have an abortion, performed by an incompetent doctor who tied her, screaming, to the table in his back room. And now for the reason Beck hates Huff . . . .

Sluggish plot hemmed in by too much backstory and going-through-the-motions prose. Not Brown’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2004

ISBN: 0-7432-4553-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

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