ASK ME NO QUESTIONS

This delightful series debut is a frisky combination of mystery and romance whose R-rated heroine clearly has a bright and...

A saucy countess leaves English society behind when she ventures to New York City in 1907.

After getting pushed into marrying an older man she disliked, Lady Philomena Dunbridge is now a widow; she has spent two horrible years in mourning, enlivened by only a few discreet romantic interludes. Faced with several unpleasant places to live, she decides to visit Bev Reynolds, an old school friend in New York, taking along her butler, Preswick, and her newly hired maid, Lily, who speaks several languages and carries a hidden stiletto. At the dock, a gunshot rings out as Bev goes to fetch her husband, Reggie, and his car, and Phil arrives just in time to see a horrified Bev staring at the bleeding corpse of Reggie in the arms of his mistress, Mimi LaPonte. When DS John Atkins arrives to investigate, Phil spirits Bev away. Reggie was a wild sort whose only true loves were his racehorses and breeding stable. Since the ruggedly handsome Atkins clearly considers Bev his prime suspect, Phil plays detective in order to free Bev from suspicion despite dire warnings from Atkins, one of the few honest police officers in New York. Matters go from bad to worse when Atkins finds a dead man in Reggie’s study shot with Bev’s gun. Undeterred, Phil buys several books on crime-solving and uses Lily’s lockpicking skills to search Reggie’s study for incriminating evidence. Reggie’s cousin, his stable manager, and a few other pals offer to help Bev, who, despite the fact that Reggie had secretly divorced her and obtained tickets for two to South America, remains his legatee. As Phil seeks gossip in drawing rooms and stables, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. It’s up to her to discover which of Reggie’s many risky activities got him killed before she becomes the next victim.

This delightful series debut is a frisky combination of mystery and romance whose R-rated heroine clearly has a bright and adventurous future.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9871-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

BADLANDS

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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