Skillfully written, full of moral ambiguities and artful puzzles, with a spine-tingling final sentence.

A Canadian detective living in Britain pursues cases on two continents.

Chief Inspector Dominic Jejeune’s brother, Damian, who put Dominic’s career in jeopardy in A Cast of Falcons (2016), has gone missing in Colombia, where he’s wanted for causing the deaths of Indigenous people while leading a bird-watching tour. Dominic is a brilliant police officer whose outside-the-box reasoning and sudden flashes of intuitive thinking set him apart as he risks his career to help his brother. Both Jejeunes are avid birders, but when Dominic signs up for a tour with the company Damian worked for, the tour owners and the Colombian authorities rightly think he has an ulterior motive. Back in Saltmarsh, England, Dominic’s boss, Colleen Shepherd, has drafted DI Marvin Laraby to take over Dominic’s cases, beginning with the murder of Erin Dawes. With the help of evidence provided by Sgt. Maik and Constable Salter, Laraby arrests Robin Oakes, a wildlife photographer living in the gatehouse of his ruined estate. Oakes, a partner in a scheme set up by the murdered woman to provide land and capital for a drone company specializing in reforesting remote areas, is just the kind of person the class-conscious Laraby despises as a useless parasite. Laraby, a solid detective who has a troubled history with Dominic—whose brilliance is sometimes off-putting to his colleagues—soon worms his way into the good graces of everyone but Sgt. Maik. In Colombia, Dominic is joined by lifelong birding friend Juan “Traz” Perez, who pretends not to speak Spanish in hopes of learning something about Damian. Their tour is filled with the joy of seeing exotic birds and a near-death experience for Dominic, whose girlfriend in Saltmarsh, Lindy Hey, is nearly killed herself in what’s apparently an accidental gas explosion. Dominic returns when he’s done all he can for his brother only to find that Laraby, who released Oakes and arrested another man involved in the scheme, has gotten it wrong again, leaving Dominic to cleverly clean up the mess.

Skillfully written, full of moral ambiguities and artful puzzles, with a spine-tingling final sentence.

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78607-233-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018


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


As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...

Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.

According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.

As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-60290-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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