Although Goldenbaum’s cozies are all plotted along very similar lines, this one keeps you guessing a bit longer than usual...

MURDER WEARS MITTENS

The Seaside Knitters go all out to solve another murder.

The charming Massachusetts seaside town of Sea Harbor has already had enough homicides for a series (Murder at Lambswool Farm, 2016, etc.). But when kindly old Dolores Cardozo is found dead and a mysterious young mother is implicated, the knitting ladies and the men they love quickly find themselves involved. The Knitters include wealthy octogenarian Birdie Favazza; retired nonprofit director Nell Endicott; her niece, Izzy Perry, proprietor of a yarn shop; and Cass Holloran, who owns the local lobster company. The suspect is waitress Kayla Stewart, whose bike turns up at the scene of Dolores’ murder. When Cass discovers her son, Christopher Stewart, at a laundromat, he takes off on his bike, leaving some clothes behind. Kayla herself is found wandering in a daze with a concussion and short-term amnesia. Birdie is shocked when she’s named executor of Dolores’ will and even more surprised to learn that Dolores is a wealthy woman who’s been secretly supporting many area nonprofits and people in need. At length, Kayla remembers going to Dolores’ house, finding her dead, and getting knocked out by an unseen assailant, but she refuses to say why she went there, and her past is a closed book. Although she’s also in possession of some of the $50 bills Delores kept stashed around her house, the Knitters, after spending time with her and her children, are convinced of her innocence. After all, there are bound to be many suspects where so much money is involved, even when the victim has been so generous. The team of sleuths must use all their local contacts and reasoning skills to get Kayla off the hook and find the real killer.

Although Goldenbaum’s cozies are all plotted along very similar lines, this one keeps you guessing a bit longer than usual and features such caring sleuths you can’t help but like them.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4967-1102-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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