Andrews, a geology instructor at Sonoma State University, offers excellent tutelage on debris flow, fault scarps, seismic...

FAULT LINE

Unemployed forensic geologist Em Hansen (An Eye for Gold, 2000, etc.) is stewing in her Salt Lake City bedsit about the whereabouts of her devout Mormon boyfriend Ray when her best chum, trust-fund baby Faye Carter, calls and wails she needs her. Faye’s pregnant, her FBI lover Tom Latimer is discombobulated about it, and the TV blaring to distract them cuts off state geologist Sidney Smeeth midsentence as she’s pointing at the site of the upcoming winter Olympics, the Town Center stadium, unwisely built directly over the Wasatch Fault, which has just rumbled to a 5.2 on the Richter Scale. Smeeth is soon murdered; so is a science reporter covering her death; and Em’s stuck mopping up Faye’s morning sickness, offering her romantic counseling, ducking the barbs of Ray’s nasty, hyperambitious sister Katie, and looking over survey plans for Tom and the FBI, trying to find something amiss. Katie’s husband Enos and his boss, developer Micah Hayes, are covering up stadium welding defects—and worse—and if Em weren’t so worried about Ray’s continued absence, she’d realize her geological expertise, new earth-scientist friendships, and unsubtle snooping have put her in danger despite the best efforts of FBI field agent Jack Sampler to protect her. When Ray finally pops by, his cop instincts are overwhelmed by the collision of Katie, Enos, Em, and his mom.

Andrews, a geology instructor at Sonoma State University, offers excellent tutelage on debris flow, fault scarps, seismic retrofits, crust slippage, and geologic hazards. Now if she could just get Em to lighten up, she might find a boyfriend worthy of her.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2002

ISBN: 0-312-25350-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2001

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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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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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