CHAIN OF EVIDENCE

Good cops, rogue cops, and unscrupulous pharmaceutical CEOs duke it out in this near-miss technothriller from normally reliable Pearson (No Witnesses, 1994, etc.). Three years ago, Hartford Detective Joe Dartelli kept quiet about a suspicious suicide because he was convinced the victim was the Ice Man, who'd raped and killed the wife of his mentor, legendary Sgt. Walter Zeller. Now Dart is heading another suicide investigation with some eerily similar signs: an impossible physical scenario, some telltale hormonal imbalances, and the same background on the victim, another sex offender. Could the Ice Man be alive and prowling again? Or could it be, as Dart's investigation suggests, that somebody's declared open season on child molesters and domestic abusers in the greater Hartford area? In fact, could the killer be Zeller, come out of retirement to avenge his murdered wife? No sooner has Dart thought of his old boss than Zeller surfaces in a series of tantalizing phone messages``They took their own lives, but they're not suicides...Sometimes the enemy is within''and tricks his old buddies into compromising the best physical evidence against him. So far, so chillingand when Dart ties those hormonal imbalances in to a gene-therapy experiment funded by nefarious Roxin Labs, the stage seems set for one of Pearson's patented action-cum- ethical-debate showdowns. This time, though, what he substitutes is action-cum-more-action, as Zeller and Dart, spooked by a gratuitous flashback to his own abused childhood, duke it out in the dark shadows of Roxin Labs, then join forces to destroy a conspiracy that could mean the end of criminal justice as sex offenders know it. Pearson soars before he fizzles, thanks to a high-concept premise and his usual daunting mastery of forensics, computers, and blood chemistry. His fans probably won't even notice when the brains in this page-turner turn into testosterone. ($250,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1995

ISBN: 0-7868-6172-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

JOURNEY OF THE PHARAOHS

Rumors of lost Egyptian treasure spark high adventure in this 17th in the NUMA series featuring oceanographer Kurt Austin and his crew (Sea of Greed, 2018, etc.).

Over 3,000 years ago, grave robbers sail away with loot from a pharaoh’s tomb. In 1927, Jake Melbourne and his plane disappear in his attempt at a trans-Atlantic flight. In the present day, arms merchants known as the Bloodstone Group have taken to stealing antiquities. They are looking for a “treasure both vast and glorious” that hieroglyphics say was shipped down the Nile and out of Egypt, perhaps even west across the Atlantic. (Holy scurvy! That must’ve been a lot of hard rowing!) The criminals are known to MI5 as “very dangerous people" and "merchants selling death.” Perfectly willing to kill everyone in their way, they are aided by mechanical crows and Fydor and Xandra, nasty sibling assassins jointly called the Toymaker. Such are the foes faced by Austin and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency. Of course, Austin has no interest in profit; he will gladly leave the ancient riches wherever they are. Action arrives early and often, and the failed pre-Lindbergh flight fits in neatly. Cussler and Brown concoct a nifty plot with disparate, sometimes over-the-top twists that will make even hardcore adventure fans say “Wow!” Expect claustrophobic gunfights, aerial combat, a life-threatening flood, messages from the dead, coffins of gold—and a vintage classic car, because why not? “We’re going to steal the greatest deposit of Egyptian treasure the world has ever known,” brags the evil mastermind. But he’ll have to climb over the series hero’s dead body first, which—no plot spoiler here—ain’t gonna happen.

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08308-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more