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IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW

Despite a few satisfying surprises, the fascinating historical information on the early Catskill resorts overwhelms the...

A 1908 visit to the Catskills is spoiled by murder.

Because New York City is suffering an outbreak of typhoid, Police Captain Daniel Sullivan encourages his pregnant wife, Molly, to remove their household to his mother’s home in Westchester. Family ties also take Molly’s best friends, free-spirted feminists Sid and Gus, to the Catskills when a letter arrives asking Sid to come see her elderly Bubbe and Zayde. Her grandparents, who disapprove of her lifestyle, live quietly on a farm that they’re laboriously converting to a bungalow colony for Jews who are unwelcome elsewhere. Molly, who’s bored at her mother-in-law’s, visits her friends, who are staying at an artists’ retreat near Sid’s relatives. Sid’s grandfather’s alleged ill health was just an excuse to get her to the farm, where a matchmaker has brought possible mates for both Sid and her cousin Mira. Mira’s match, Mr. Simon Levin, is a flashy, conceited young man with plans to build a hotel on disputed state land; he’s already fighting with the owners of a nearby bluestone quarry over the noise they make with dynamite. Sid’s match is a college professor she finds interesting but has no intention of wedding. While they’re all out walking in the woods, Levin is shot with his own rifle, and the local police fasten on Mira, who’s been acting bad ever since she realized she was tricked by her grandparents, as his killer. When her friends beg Molly to help Mira, she unearths other motives for his murder, but it will take a visit from Daniel to get Mira exonerated.

Despite a few satisfying surprises, the fascinating historical information on the early Catskill resorts overwhelms the mystery.

Pub Date: March 12, 2024

ISBN: 9781250890788

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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NONE OF THIS IS TRUE

It's hard to read but hard to look away from.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

When two women who share a birthday meet, a journalist becomes the subject of her own true-crime mystery.

On their 45th birthdays, Josie Fair and Alix Summer meet at a pub and discover they were born not only on the same day, but in the same hospital. Alix is a successful journalist, and Josie convinces Alix that her story is worth telling: Josie met her husband when she was 13 and he was 40. “I can see that maybe I was being used, that maybe I was even being groomed?” she confesses to Alix. “But that feeling of being powerful, right at the start, when I was still in control. I miss that sometimes. I really do. And what I’d like, more than anything, is to get it back.” From this premise Alix creates a Netflix series, Hi! I’m Your Birthday Twin! which investigates Josie’s life as she reconciles what happened to her as a teen and seeks a new path. With the story unfinished, the narrative unfolds in the present tense, with prose that jingles like song lyrics: “He turns to see if the girl is behind him, and sees her wishy-washy, wavy-wavy, in double vision through the glass windows of the hotel.” Alix is both intrigued and repulsed by Josie, but she initially gives her the benefit of the doubt. After all, Alix’s husband, Nathan, has a drinking problem, and Alix knows what it’s like to be reluctant to leave a bad situation. But Josie seems more interested in being part of Alix’s seemingly glamorous life than she is in fixing her own, and when three people end up dead and Alix’s life is turned upside down, the evidence points to Josie—and turns the TV series into a murder mystery. Transcripts from Alix’s interviews alternate with the narrative, offering increasingly varied perspectives on Josie’s story as told by her neighbors, friends, and family members. With so many versions of events, the ending shatters, leaving readers to decide whose is the truth.

It's hard to read but hard to look away from.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2023

ISBN: 9781982179007

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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