FINAL VICTIM

From veteran TV writer Cannell (The Plan, 1995), an unsuccessful psychothriller that reads like a hodgepodge of recent blockbusters in the genre. Cannell's TV experience seems both an advantage and a disadvantage here: His dialogue is quick and limber, but his characters are imported directly from central casting. Leonard Land, a multipersonality serial killer, shifts unpredictably between ``The Rat,'' a feckless killer, and ``The Wind Minstrel,'' a pseudo-religious guru. Leonard is a slightly atypical freakazoid evil genius, close to seven feet tall, hairless, sheet-white, and a wizard in cyberspace, where his pals include the lead singer of a Death Metal band. With his copious online talents, Leonard is almost impossible to catch. Unless, that is, you've got a felonious ace up your sleeve, which is what US Customs agent John Lockwood and his inadvertent sidekick, the babe genius criminal shrink Dr. Karen Dawson, have in the person of Malavida Chacone. Imprisoned—by Lockwood—for his illicit computer hacking, Chacone is the only one who can crack through Leonard's cyberspace world, leaving the head games to Karen and the heavy lifting to Lockwood. Leonard's twisted plan involves killing women and sawing off part of their bodies, which he then refrigerates in a salvaged garbage barge. Lockwood, naturally, has screwed up his marriage, and the hunt for Leonard becomes personal when Chacone accidentally clues Leonard in to the whereabouts of Lockwood's estranged wife and daughter. Leonard kills the wife, and Lockwood vows revenge. A series of late-book plot convolutions temporarily disable both Chacone and Lockwood, placing Karen squarely in harm's way and setting up a moderately suspenseful conclusion. It's hard to believe that Cannell came up with a character as compelling as TV's Jim Rockford. An unrelenting string of cyberbabble does not distract from his second novel's most serious problem: We've seen all this before. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-688-14775-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution...

ROSES ARE RED

Who’s robbing all those banks and kidnapping all those people and killing all those accomplices? It’s somebody calling himself the Mastermind—a comic-book sobriquet that represents everything that’s wrong with the latest installment in Patterson’s Alex Cross franchise.

A young woman robs a bank in suburban Maryland and threatens to kill the manager’s family if she’s kept from meeting her timetable. She’s less than a minute late out the door, so the family dies. So does the robber. So do all the staff at a second bank after somebody tips the police off. Who could possibly be so ruthless? It’s the Mastermind, the evil genius who set up both robberies intending murder from the beginning—even warning the cops the second time. And robbing banks is only the beginning for the megalomaniac, who’s plotting a group abduction worth $30 million and a series of maneuvers that’ll feed his cat’s-paws to the police, or to the fishes. And since the Mastermind likes to see families suffer, he vows to take the war of nerves right to forensic psychologist Cross. But if he wants to ruin the D.C. detective’s life, he’ll have to stand in line, since Cross’s girlfriend Christine Johnson is pulling away from him and his daughter Jannie is suddenly having seizures. Despite his prowess with guns and fists, and his awesome insight into other people’s minds, Cross would be desperate if it weren’t for the timely embraces of FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, to whom he’ll make passionate love while telling her, “I like being with you. A lot. Even more than I expected.” With an adversary like that, how can the Mastermind prevail?

As usual, Patterson (Cradle and All, p. 262, etc.) provides a nonstop alternation of felonies and righteous retribution unclouded by texture, thought, or moral complexity, to produce the speediest tosh on the planet.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-69325-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

more