A sinister cult, political payoffs, hard-core sex tapes, stories about child abuse and one of the most stressed-out...

CORRUPT PRACTICES

Not content with ruining a Los Angeles law firm financially, a powerful religious cult now seems intent on killing off the firm’s former partners.

Parker Stern was never close to Richard Baxter, and when Rich left Macklin & Cherry and took the lucrative business of the Church of the Sanctified Assembly with him, bringing the firm to its knees, Parker wrote him off. But he can’t refuse to take on his defense when Rich phones him from prison after the Assembly accuses him of embezzling millions—even though Parker’s had an incapacitating case of situational glossophobia that’s prevented him from speaking in court ever since the suicide of his mentor, Harmon Cherry, several weeks ago. When Rich, a former true believer who’s made wild accusations concerning the Assembly’s own sins and insisted that Harmon Cherry was murdered to cover them up, misses his initial court appearance because he’s apparently hanged himself in his cell, Parker wonders if two suicides are two too many—whether both Harmon and Rich were murdered by agents of the Assembly. And when Rich’s father, Raymond, hit by the Assembly with a multimillion-dollar suit over Rich’s estate, asks Parker to take the case, he hands him the perfect base from which to launch his assault against oily PR chief Christopher McCarthy, hired legal gun Louis Frantz, film star–turned-Congressman Lake Knolls and everyone else in LA County. But first-timer Rotstein, an entertainment lawyer, isn’t content with that battle; he spices the mix with Parker’s past as a child actor, his turbulent relationship with his mother, who grabbed his earnings years ago and donated them to the Assembly, and his unlikely and unethical romance with one of the law school students helping him on the case. Not to mention the question of whether he’ll ever be able to raise his voice above a squeak before the bench.

A sinister cult, political payoffs, hard-core sex tapes, stories about child abuse and one of the most stressed-out attorneys you’ll ever see. It’s hard to imagine what Rotstein has kept in reserve for the sequel.

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61614-791-4

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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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Joe, who insists that “I’m not on a side,” spends more time than he’d like in rooms with ceilings, but the mystery is strong...

COLD WIND

Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett’s fondest dream becomes his worst nightmare when his loathsome mother-in-law is arrested for murder.

Earl Alden, the sixth suitor to take Missy Vankueren Longbrake Alden to the nuptial bed, was proud of the 100 new wind turbines sprouting on his spread, the Thunderbird Ranch. But someone must have disliked both them and him, because Joe finds his corpse chained to the vane of one of them, rotating briskly. Joe’s current nemesis, county sheriff Kyle McLanahan, and rookie county attorney Lisa Rich, announce that they’ve got an airtight case against Missy based on the testimony of an unnamed informant who maintains that she engaged him to kill the Earl of Lexington, who in a reversal of the customary order of things had been preparing to divorce her before she could tire of him. Joe, whose dislike of his overbearing, manipulative mother-in-law crystallized into something harder when she divorced rancher Bud Longbrake, confiscated his family’s property and left him empty-handed, finds himself in the unwelcome position of hunting for exculpatory evidence. He’d love to have the help of outlaw falconer Nate Romanowski once more. But Nate, following a serious quarrel with Joe (Nowhere to Run, 2010), has gone to ground somewhere he hopes will be safe from the old Special Forces colleagues he suspects have been sent to find and kill him. It looks like both men will be on their own until they collide just in time for a stunning courtroom finale.

Joe, who insists that “I’m not on a side,” spends more time than he’d like in rooms with ceilings, but the mystery is strong enough to compensate, and the revelations about wind farms will curl your hair no matter which side you’re on.

Pub Date: March 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15735-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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