In his second caper (Murder on Olympus, 2013) Plato plays Bob Hope to Felix's Bing Crosby, keeping the plot rattling...

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OLYMPUS CONFIDENTIAL

Olympian shamus Plato Jones faces his toughest assignment yet: breaking out of prison.

Puckish Plato, who narrates in an arch first-person, begins his descent into trouble when he witnesses the robbery of the Bank of New Olympia by Felix King and his gang. Though Felix and two accomplices are arrested, his dad, Louis, escapes with the loot via a jet pack and a force field. The next day, Zeus hatches a devilish plan over the complaints of his son Hermes, who wants to handle it himself. Plato will be arrested and sent to prison, where he'll befriend Felix and learn all he can about his gang. Getting in involves a public arrest, a trial and a sentence of life without parole. Plato befriends Felix with few obstacles. But the Tartarus Maximum Security Penitentiary is the most dangerous place in the universe, and once Felix and Plato become besties, the sleuth turns his attention to escape. There's a shower-room brawl, led by the surly Reave and broken up by guards, and a confrontation with a snarling pack of Cerberuses, which leads them to bombastic Cronus, king of the Titans and father of Zeus. Achilles buttonholes the duo and convinces Felix to show him some magic. Cronus' return creates enough confusion for the escape midway through this twisty adventure, which includes a run-in with Daedalus,  two-fisted new companion Helena, and a suitably miraculous finale.

In his second caper (Murder on Olympus, 2013) Plato plays Bob Hope to Felix's Bing Crosby, keeping the plot rattling blissfully along with cartoonish action and wisecracks aplenty.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-939452-48-1

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Dragonfairy Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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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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