After his wife is stabbed to death during a bungled burglary attempt, Saginaw Park investment-broker Harvey Rozier asks that Sgt. Abe Lieberman be assigned to the case—even though Rozier murdered his wife himself and lives in fear that Lieberman will track down the hapless burglar who interrupted the killing. And he's not alone in his fear. While the witness, rabbity burglar and Sunday painter George (Pitty-Pitty) Patniks, hides under the covers from Rozier and the cops, Dr. Jacob Berry—the new Uptown Chicago police physician—cowers in his office with his illegal handgun, terrified of three teenagers who taunted him from a nearby el platform. And Lieberman's partner, Bill Hanrahan, who's bent on breaking Rozier's careful alibi, feels the heat from a Chinatown elder determined to keep him from marrying Iris Chen. The only comic relief comes on the home front, when Lieberman and his wife find their home invaded by a neighboring rabbi obsessed with buying the place now, right now, tonight. Another stellar performance, alight with menace and compassion; and if it's not up to the lonely heights of Lieberman's Day (1994), very few procedurals are. The biggest mystery: Why isn't this outstanding series, now in its fourth book, pulling in the vast audience abandoned by Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small?

Pub Date: April 12, 1995

ISBN: 0-8050-2576-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Fluke lavishes so much attention on the mechanics of location shooting that there’s scant time for the murder, much less its...


Even the murder of its cranky director can’t stop the filming of Crisis in Cherrywood or halt the snooping of Lake Eden’s premier baker.

Just when Hannah Swenson’s decided to accept neither of the marriage proposals tendered at the end of Peach Cobbler Murder (2005)—turning down both sweet-tempered dentist Norman Rhoades and hot-blooded lawman Mike Kingston—another suitor turns up. Her old college classmate Ross Barton, now a Hollywood producer who thinks Lake Eden is just the spot to shoot his new movie, recruits Hannah’s mom Delores as set designer, her younger sister Michelle as production assistant and her middle sister Andrea as an extra. He even casts Andrea’s five-year-old, Tracey, to play heroine Lynne Larchmont as a child and presses Hannah’s cat Moishe into service as her childhood pet. For Hannah he reserves the role of constant companion, escorting her to dinner, inviting her to view the dailies and letting her watch the filming—which gives her a front-row seat as Dean Lawrence, instructing leading man Anson Burke on how to use a prop pistol, shoots himself fatally instead. Since Mike has made it clear to Hannah that she must leave investigating to the professionals, she can’t investigate, she can only snoop—much to the delight of Andrea, Norman and Lake Edenites everywhere.

Fluke lavishes so much attention on the mechanics of location shooting that there’s scant time for the murder, much less its solution.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7582-0294-6

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Familiar thrills lashed to a razor’s edge.


A Spanish cop, incurring a crime lord’s vengeful and wholly unearned wrath, is saddled with a new partner she’s not crazy about herself.

Agreeing to take a late-night call to cover for a colleague who wants to go home to his wife and baby, Officer Cristina Sánchez Pradell, of Marviña’s Policía Local, finds herself face to face with a man she takes to be an armed intruder. Before he can identify himself as Ian Templeton, who broke into his own house after he forgot his keys, he’s startled by a dark figure behind him and fires three shots, killing Angela Fry, the pregnant girlfriend who’d returned with him. Templeton, who’s actually Jack Cleland, a British fugitive widely sought for drug trafficking and killing a cop, blames Cristina’s presence for Angela’s death and swears revenge against her whole family. That includes her husband, Antonio; their 10-year-old son, Lucas; her cancer-stricken sister, Nuri; Nuri’s husband, fellow police officer Paco; and Ana, Cristina’s deaf, blind aunt, whose role will be pivotal. Cleland’s threats ring hollow as long as he’s in custody, but on the journey to transfer him to the custody of John Mackenzie, a disgraced ex-cop on his first day as an investigator for Britain's National Crime Agency, Cleland’s underlings break him out, killing one cop and shooting Paco nonfatally so that he can relay the news to Cristina. Mackenzie, a Scot who has long-standing issues with authority figures of all kinds, is ready to take the next flight home, but Sub-Inspector Miguel López, the chief of Marviña Station, insists that he stay and help Cristina, who clearly needs all the help she can get, however antipathetic its source. As the unwilling partners track down leads to Cleland’s present whereabouts, Cleland, effortlessly outmaneuvering them, zeroes in on one soft target after another. May (I’ll Keep You Safe, 2018, etc.) keeps a few surprises in reserve but not enough to prevent you from thinking you’ve seen this all before.

Familiar thrills lashed to a razor’s edge.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78429-498-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Mobius

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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