A high-spirited pipe dream of nonstop wisecracks, female pulchritude, and physical combat most likely to appeal to readers...



After leaving the IRS, a Reno private eye–in-training lands a high-profile case, loses it, lands it again, and finally puts it, and several other parties, to bed.

Maude "Ma" Clary, who runs Clary Investigations, aims to keep a tight leash on Mortimer Angel while he’s working for her. As if. When dazzling Danya Fuller, encountering Mort at a bar, recognizes him from his high-mortality last case (Gumshoe for Two, 2017) and asks him to phone her the next morning, Mort ignores Ma’s warnings about her, and before he can say "my bad," he’s discovered the body of missing rapper Jonnie Xenon, aka Jo-X, hanged and shot in the garage of the place Danya shares with Shanna Hayes. Danya runs from Mort as if he had a social disease, but he soon has an unlikely new client: his old frenemy Detective Russell Fairchild, of the Reno Police Department, who turns out to be Danya’s father. A badly spelled note demanding $1 million from Danya and Shanna as the price for hauling away Jo-X’s corpse indicates further complications. But Mort’s adventures don’t kick into high gear until Lucy K. Landry, a small-town waitress who's 31 but looks underage, latches onto him, begging him to take her on as his assistant, and leads him into a fevered Las Vegas fantasy of topless car rides, high-stakes roulette, and wild living in a comped suite. Mort’s determination to avoid his scolding boss and his cheerfully sexist obsession with tight-bodied females, all of whom seem to find him irresistible, consistently upstage the question of who killed Jo-X, though fans may be surprised at just how casual and disappointing the mystery is.

A high-spirited pipe dream of nonstop wisecracks, female pulchritude, and physical combat most likely to appeal to readers who still miss the men’s magazines of the 1950s.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60809-274-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Oceanview

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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