Frigid North Shore landscapes, kitchen-sink plotting, and a dogged investigator who doesn’t know when or how to quit. Even...

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CAPE DIAMOND

A second case for Frank Yakabuski, senior detective with Canada’s Springfield Regional Police Force, entangles him in gang warfare, kidnapping, murder, and theft on a grand scale.

Even in death, Augustus Morrissey, King of the Shiners, is just one surprise after another. Most gang leaders, no matter how many enemies they make, don’t get beaten and stabbed to death, have their eyes cut out—a technique long associated with the rival Travellers, led by Gabriel Dumont—and get tied to a fence in full view of a housing project in which nobody bothers to call the police. And of course very few corpses have a diamond worth over $1 million shoved down their throats. There’s every indication that the diamond in question came from the De Kirk Mines even though De Kirk general manager Peter Merkel smugly maintains that his security measures put theft out of the question. When Yakabuski (Ragged Lake, 2017) tracks down long-missing Terry Maguire and offers to get his grandson, teenage meth head Jimmy O’Driscoll, into a top rehab program and shield him from the Popeyes motorcycle gang, who want him to pay what he owes them or else, Maguire indicates that he does indeed know who killed Augustus Morrissey but that he won’t tell. Instead, he assures Yakabuski that he’ll find all the answers he needs if he can only locate Katherine Morrissey, the mother of Sean Morrissey, the King’s son and heir apparent. Katherine Morrissey proves even more elusive than Maguire, who was declared dead 14 years ago. And that’s tough on everyone, because an all-out gang war between the Shiners and the Travellers erupts while Yakabuski is still looking for her.

Frigid North Shore landscapes, kitchen-sink plotting, and a dogged investigator who doesn’t know when or how to quit. Even though this is only his second outing, somebody definitely owes Corbett’s hero a vacation.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77041-395-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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