Spencer nicely balances family drama with old-fashioned detection.

THE COMPANY

A publisher battles to overcome a cascading barrage of losses.

When Rob Conroy’s grandfather Charlie started his furniture company after the war, he remembered one thing from his military service: Always establish a clear chain of command. As Conroy Enterprises grew and diversified, he parceled out the day-to-day management of various divisions to whomever he thought would run them best while keeping control of the corporation tightly in his own hands. He gave Rob’s brother, John, Mid-Cheshire Mechanical, a maintenance company that provides enough salary and prestige to suit John’s ambitious wife, Lydia. And he saved Cormorant Publishing, a small independent press, for Rob, an Oxford graduate. With the help of a blockbuster first novel from the unknown Andy McBride, Cormorant enjoys modest success. But after Rob’s brother, father, and uncle are all killed in a car crash on their way to an acquisition meeting with Western Haulage, Rob has to fight his cousin to maintain control of his press because the line of succession in his grandfather’s will leaves control of the family empire to his Uncle Tony, and on Tony’s death, to his son, Philip. Losing most of his family is just the latest blow for Rob, whose college girlfriend, Jill, was killed during their first summer together. As he heals from the car crash, he’s preparing for another loss: Marie O’Hara, the first woman he’s been attracted to since Jill, has dropped out of sight. But Chief Inspector Owen Flint has more bad news for his old friend Rob: The crash was no accident, and there’s every reason to believe that whoever cut the brake lines on the car will come back for the survivors.

Spencer nicely balances family drama with old-fashioned detection.  

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7278-9094-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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