Strictly for dog lovers and action fans. Dogs-in-action junkies will be transported.

LEAVE NO TRACE

A fifth outing pits search-and-rescue officer Meg Jennings and her canine partner against a serial killer whose choice of weapons drives the story.

The shooting of Sgt. Noah Hubbert, of the Georgia State Patrol, would be shocking under any circumstances. What sets it apart is the fact that he’s been shot with an arrow—and that he’s not the first such victim in the area. Tim Reynolds, the chairman of the Fannin County Board of Commissioners, was struck down by an identical arrow two weeks ago. The killer’s modus operandi should make him absurdly easy to track down: How many archers can reliably hit their targets from as far away as this one clearly was? And the most likely motive is pretty clear too: opposition to the Copperhill Dam, which has been planned to manage the water level of the Toccoa River, which separates McCaysville, Georgia, from Copperhill, Tennessee. But that doesn’t deprive Driscoll of the opportunity for several gripping sequences involving the tracking of the suspect by members of the Human Scent Evidence Team and their canine partners. These action sequences, juiced by the heroine’s fear of heights, are terrific, and the interplay between the dogs and their handlers is deeply felt. But neither the plotting nor the characterization measures up to them. Meg’s friend Clay McCord, of the Washington Post, generates a list of award-winning archers, and then Meg and Special Agent Sam Torres, of the Atlanta FBI, go down the list, trying to ignore the mounting body count, till a profiler points them to the only suspect who’s come close to making an impression.

Strictly for dog lovers and action fans. Dogs-in-action junkies will be transported.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2249-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A high-octane thriller whose hero is tossed into one impossible situation after another. Best started early in the morning.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETTS

A hypernormal suburban family’s trip home from their daughter’s field hockey game leads them down a rabbit hole of criminal complications.

For some reason—maybe just because it’s a Mercedes—a pair of gunslingers pick court reporter Jason Bennett’s ride to carjack as he drives along a quiet road with his wife, photographer Lucinda, and their teenagers, Allison and Ethan. In the scuffle that follows, one of the carjackers is shot along with Allison, who dies in the hospital. Wait, it gets worse. A pair of FBI agents knocks on the Bennetts’ door at 3 a.m. to tell them that John Milo, the escaped carjacker, has framed Jason for the murder of his accomplice, George Veria Jr., in order to save himself from the wrath of Junior’s father, the kingpin of the George Veria Organization. Time is of the essence, the agents assure Jason and Lucinda: They have to leave their house and their old lives behind right now and go into the witness protection program. Sure enough, minutes after the three shellshocked Bennetts allow themselves to be driven off, a representative of the GVO sets fire to their house and follows up with a similar fire at Jason's office, and Lucinda’s office is vandalized. Warned off social media, the Bennetts can only watch helplessly as their friends and neighbors issue pleas for them to get in touch and self-styled “citizen detective” Bryan Krieger decides to launch his own freelance investigation, fueled by slanderous innuendo. Every time Jason thinks he’s finally got the situation figured out, Scottoline tosses in explosive new complications in the most relentless of all her mysteries.

A high-octane thriller whose hero is tossed into one impossible situation after another. Best started early in the morning.

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-53967-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Plenty of pain for the characters, plenty of thrills for the reader.

CITY ON FIRE

A blistering novel filled with anger and bite.

Danny Ryan is a dockworker in Providence, Rhode Island, who’s “faithful like a dog” to his wife, Terri, of the rival Murphy clan, and sometimes does some less-than-legal errands for his father-in-law, John. He wants more out of his life and wants to “not owe nobody nothing,” but nobody ever leaves Dogtown. One day at the beach, he sees “the goddess who came out of the sea” and who “has a voice like sex.” Terri's brother Liam Murphy accidentally-on-purpose touches the woman’s breast, which sets off a chain reaction of events in which bullets fly and f-bombs and their ilk swarm like cicadas on nearly every page. You know, you just don’t touch a made guy’s woman, and the goddess is going out with Paulie Moretti. The Providence press gleefully reports the other-side-of-the-tracks bloodletting among men who supplement their wages with hijacking trucks and boosting heroin. So Danny wants out with his wife and son, but—well, it’s complicated. Chances are they’ll have to live and die in Dogtown. And, oh yeah, Danny loathes his rich mother, who tries so hard to make amends for abandoning him. The characters are as vividly described as some of them are vile: One guy “never met a job he couldn’t lose.” John Murphy is “the king of an empire that died a long time ago. The light of a long-dead star.” At the ocean, Danny observes that the “whitecaps look like the beards of sad old men.” A Murphy declares, “That Ryan blood….It’s cursed.” But the Murphy blood isn’t exactly touched by angels either. And then there are the Morettis, all of them trapped in a cycle of crime and violence, just looking for an excuse to go to war. One difference between Danny and some of the others is he’s never killed anybody. Yet. Meanwhile, a planned heist might just solve some financial problems for whoever survives all the betrayals.

Plenty of pain for the characters, plenty of thrills for the reader.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-285119-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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