The forth in Simonson’s Latouche County series (Beyond Confusion, 2013, etc.) marries a story that draws you in with some...



Two dysfunctional families in Washington state are sunk in a morass of murder and suicide.

Judith Hough is a war hero who suffers from PTSD. Her father, another war hero, was also a mean drunk and a bully who recently committed suicide. After his death, his son, Russ, returned home to get the family farm in the fictional Latouche County up and running for his hapless mother. Russ, whose mother is a member of the Klalos tribe, which owns land and businesses near the Columbia River Gorge, had left home after he graduated high school and hasn’t been seen since. Not even Jack Redfern, the uncle who pretty much raised him, knew that he went to college, earned several degrees, and landed an excellent job with a major wine company. Next to the Hough farm is the land of wealthy, canny, nasty Frank August, who’s getting into the wine business. Frank turned over his bank to his son, Francis Jr., then took all his money out before it went bottom up, leaving Junior holding the bag. Jane, the daughter from Frank’s first marriage, an artist with enough money of her own to do what she pleases, is staying with her father and his fifth wife, 30-year-old Libby, while looking for a place to live nearby. Jane meets Russ, who already has one artificial leg, when she helps him after an accident in his cherry orchard. When Frank vanishes and his SUV turns up buried deep in brush near the river, Judith would probably be a suspect or a witness were she not in the hospital in a coma after trying to kill herself. Jane and Russ’ burgeoning romantic relationship is stressed by the investigation that follows the discovery of Frank’s body buried in the orchard. Realizing that she and Russ will never have a solid relationship until the mystery is solved, Jane reluctantly investigates.

The forth in Simonson’s Latouche County series (Beyond Confusion, 2013, etc.) marries a story that draws you in with some fascinating characters worth being drawn to. The ending, alas, is a letdown.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56474-597-2

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Perseverance Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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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