Readers will learn a few things about Stonehenge, but not enough to justify the time required to finish the book.

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THE STONEHENGE LEGACY

Following his father's suicide, the son of a famous British archaeologist and relic collector discovers that the old man was closely involved with an ultra-secret cult of Stonehenge worshippers, one of whose key rituals demands fresh supplies of human blood.

Part cult thriller, part police procedural, Christer's first novel takes us deep into a hidden sanctuary where devout followers are painfully initiated and kidnap victims are slaughtered according to ancient rites. Gideon Chase, long estranged from his father Nathaniel, becomes obsessed with the old man's secret self after discovering journals about his doings at Stonehenge, some of them written in code. Gideon himself is the beneficiary of a cleansing ritual that eliminated a childhood disease and has immunized him from even the slightest cold ever since. On the portentous eve of the summer solstice, he is targeted by the cult. Meanwhile, Caitlyn Lock, the misbehaving daughter of the American vice president, who is attending school in London, is abducted at Stonehenge along with her new rich playboy. He had the unfortunate idea of thinking driving there would make for a cool romantic getaway. Ambitious DI Megan Baker, drawn into the plot when Gideon is attacked in his father's country mansion, has her efforts frustrated by her bureaucratic, sexist bosses and complicated by her untrustworthy ex-husband. And then there is the celebrity American bounty hunter who has come to save Caitlyn, and a flock of heavily weaponized Apache helicopters you can't wait to see blow stuff up. It's a credit to Christer, a documentary filmmaker, that he makes the story as readable and, for a while, as involving as it is. But Dan Brown he's not. As the story wobbles toward its predictable climax, you won't be looking forward to a sequel. This is a book best passed on to someone for whom the Stonehenge setting will matter more than anything.

Readers will learn a few things about Stonehenge, but not enough to justify the time required to finish the book.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59020-676-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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