A novel in which you cannot wait to find out what happens next—even as you do not want it to end. For everyone who wants...

THE HOLLOW OF FEAR

In the third Lady Sherlock novel, a murder tests the dispassionate sleuth’s deductive mind and enigmatic heart.

Every new mystery in this gender-swapped retelling of Holmes has been drawing together the chess pieces of a complex game involving the disgraced gentlewoman and detective Charlotte Holmes, the ominous Moriarty, the upright Lord Ingram, and his icy wife. Here, Thomas opens with the scene that ended her last novel (A Conspiracy in Belgravia, 2017) before leapfrogging to a dramatic event. The gap in time is deliberate—for once, the reader doesn’t know everything that Holmes does, and it heightens the suspense in her race to save the life of someone in whom we are heavily invested. As she looks for clues at Ingram’s country estate, she is in constant proximity to the man she cannot have, ratcheting up their sexual tension. Her sister, gossiping busybodies, and an ambitious chief inspector are all interested in competing outcomes, complicating the investigation further. Inspector Treadles grasps some of what is unfolding, but his certainties about the appropriate role of women were shaken in the earlier novel, and he’s no longer sure of the correctness of his values. Finally, Ingram’s spymaster brother is playing for higher stakes than his family knows. Clues seem to mount in the wrong direction, the action shuts out the reader once more, and then a flashback to the elided incidents satisfyingly clarifies what Holmes has suspected and plotted all along. The resolution, as well as the spell cast by Thomas’ language and clever use of disguise to reveal a devastating understanding of human flaws and desires, leaves one with a good book hangover.

A novel in which you cannot wait to find out what happens next—even as you do not want it to end. For everyone who wants their mysteries spiced with plentiful twists and a delicious dose of sexual chemistry.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28142-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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No wonder Scarpetta asks, “When did my workplace become such a soap opera?” Answer: at least 10 years ago.

FLESH AND BLOOD

Happy birthday, Dr. Kay Scarpetta. But no Florida vacation for you and your husband, FBI profiler Benton Wesley—not because President Barack Obama is visiting Cambridge, but because a deranged sniper has come to town.

Shortly after everyone’s favorite forensic pathologist (Dust, 2013, etc.) receives a sinister email from a correspondent dubbed Copperhead, she goes outside to find seven pennies—all polished, all turned heads-up, all dated 1981—on her garden wall. Clearly there’s trouble afoot, though she’s not sure what form it will take until five minutes later, when a call from her old friend and former employee Pete Marino, now a detective with the Cambridge Police, summons her to the scene of a shooting. Jamal Nari was a high school music teacher who became a minor celebrity when his name was mistakenly placed on a terrorist watch list; he claimed government persecution, and he ended up having a beer with the president. Now he’s in the news for quite a different reason. Bizarrely, the first tweets announcing his death seem to have preceded it by 45 minutes. And Leo Gantz, a student at Nari’s school, has confessed to his murder, even though he couldn’t possibly have done it. But these complications are only the prelude to a banquet of homicide past and present, as Scarpetta and Marino realize when they link Nari’s murder to a series of killings in New Jersey. For a while, the peripheral presence of the president makes you wonder if this will be the case that finally takes the primary focus off the investigator’s private life. But most of the characters are members of Scarpetta’s entourage, the main conflicts involve infighting among the regulars, and the killer turns out to be a familiar nemesis Scarpetta thought she’d left for dead several installments back. As if.

No wonder Scarpetta asks, “When did my workplace become such a soap opera?” Answer: at least 10 years ago.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-232534-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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