A routine procedural from Spencer (Dangerous Games, 2007, etc.) made disturbing by dark glimpses into the mind of a child...


The abduction of a young girl from a local park brings DCI Charlie Woodend personal anguish and professional peril.

Angela Jackson’s disappearance puts urgent pressure on the Central Lancashire police force, and they respond with their first team: irascible, efficient DCI Charlie Woodend, DS Monika Paniatowski and young PC Colin Beresford. They even re-attach Woodend’s old sergeant, Bob Rutter, to the group, hoping they’ll find the missing girl before the worst happens. The team works well. Rutter and Paniatowski have eased the tension from their disastrous affair. Monika even helps care for widowed Bob’s daughter Louisa. But their key suspects—pedophile Peter Mainwaring and Edgar Brunton, whose wallet is found near the scene—both have alibis. And Martin Stevenson, the psychiatrist assigned to help profile the abductor, is fresh out of ideas. So the worst does happen: Angela’s abused body turns up, Woodend’s team is kicked to the curb and Charlie has a second corpse on his conscience. It’s a virtual replay of the Taylor case, when his promises to the kidnap victim’s family were mocked by the discovery of her body in the Thames. But as Stevenson predicts, Angela’s abductor won’t stop, and another child disappears. Finding her might offer redemption, but Charlie’s boss, Henry Marlowe, makes it clear: Off the case means off the case.

A routine procedural from Spencer (Dangerous Games, 2007, etc.) made disturbing by dark glimpses into the mind of a child molester.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7278-6544-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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