A clever, funny mystery peopled with captivating characters that enhance the story at every quirky turn.

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THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE

Osman follows The Thursday Murder Club (2020), his supremely entertaining debut, with an even better second installment.

Coopers Chase, an upscale retirement village in the British countryside, is home to the Thursday Murder Club, which consists of shrewd, deadly former spy Elizabeth Best, retired nurse Joyce Meadowcroft, psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif, political activist Ron Ritchie, and three honorary members, fixer Bogdan Jankowski, DCI Chris Hudson, and Police Constable Donna De Freitas. A letter from a dead man plunges Elizabeth and her friends into a dangerous case involving local crooks, the Mafia, and MI6. The letter is signed by Marcus Carmichael, whose corpse Elizabeth had seen pulled from the Thames years earlier, but it turns out to have been written by Elizabeth’s ex-husband, Douglas Middlemiss, who knew that name would get her attention. Douglas isn't dead, but he's still in a spot of trouble involving stolen diamonds and an angry go-between who holds valuable items for a variety of crooks. When a group of teenagers steal Ibrahim's phone and then kick him in the head after he falls down, the group plots revenge, little knowing that the two problems may soon become one. When Douglas and his handler, Poppy, are shot dead, the group must race MI6 and several vicious crooks to neutralize a number of killers and find the diamonds. Elizabeth, who knows so much about Douglas, is assigned to decode the clues he left behind, but each of her seemingly innocuous friends has skills that enhance the group’s ability to survive and place blame where it belongs while covering up a myriad of minor offenses.

A clever, funny mystery peopled with captivating characters that enhance the story at every quirky turn.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-98-488099-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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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