In retrospect, Woods’s endless rounds of dead-end scheming find an uncanny echo in contemporary reality TV. Think of this as...

SANTA FE EDGE

Santa Fe attorney Ed Eagle’s murderous ex-wife and assorted lesser satellites continue to hatch plots at cross-purposes, all as inconclusively as ever.

In the nine weeks since she was sent to a Mexican prison for attempted murder (Santa Fe Dead, 2008), Barbara Eagle Keeler hasn’t been wasting her time. She’s been using the episodes of rape by Warden Pedro Alvarez to gather information that will help her escape and work more havoc back in the United States. Assisted more directly by James Long, the film producer who’s not only her lover but the prospective colleague of Ed’s new wife Susannah Wilde, she hatches a plan to kill Ed and his bride. When they get a whiff of Barbara’s escape despite Alvarez’s insistence that she was merely transferred to another prison, Ed’s longtime private eyes, Cupie Dalton and Vittorio, decide that their best defense against her is a good offense. Not enough malfeasance for you? Soon after Ed gets the murder charges against his latest client, golf pro Tip Hanks, dismissed, Tip takes on a new personal assistant, Dolly Parks, who just happens to be the serial embezzler who killed Tip’s wife. Meanwhile, Todd Bacon, the CIA’s station chief in Panama, is hot in pursuit of Teddy Fay, the CIA agent turned assassin who’s eluded every attempt made to catch him. None of this violent, weightless intrigue goes anywhere, of course, but the dialogue, reeking with obtuse self-assurance, is full of guilty pleasures, from Ed’s admonition to Susannah (“If you keep on shooting people we’re going to end up in court”) to Barbara’s prayer entreating a disputed legacy from the Almighty (“If you’ll let me have this money, I’ll never kill anybody again, not even Ed Eagle!”).

In retrospect, Woods’s endless rounds of dead-end scheming find an uncanny echo in contemporary reality TV. Think of this as one more installment in The Real Sexed-Up Felons of Santa Fe, with all the pleasures and limitations that title implies.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-15691-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Strictly for fans prepared to worry that Woods’ highflying franchise hero may actually breathe his last this time.

HIT LIST

Stone Barrington under siege.

Stone’s name is the 10th and last on the list that crosses his desk. But since it’s accompanied by an unsigned note that adds, “Dead, no special order, starting soon. Figure it out,” he wastes no time shoring up his defenses. And a good thing too, since his nemesis straightaway shoots three other victims and makes three clean getaways, along the way breaching the perimeter of Stone’s swanky East Side building and short-circuiting his security system. But Stone’s idea of going to ground isn’t quite the same as yours or mine. When Vanessa Baker, the baker he slept with in Treason (2020), phones him, he responds without ado to her overtures, and she’s soon ensconced in his place. He huddles with his old NYPD partner, police commissioner Dino Bacchetti, and CIA director Lance Cabot to identify his aspiring executioner. His efforts, first to shake off, then to track down the predator, lead him and his Gulfstream 500 to his estate in England, to his place in Cold Harbor, Maine, and eventually to Santa Fe. When he’s attacked by a hired killer during a shopping trip in Turnbull & Asser, he shoots the assailant, then seeks to apply pressure that will lead him to the paymaster. He even finds time to proposition Holly Barker, the secretary of state whose presidential campaign would be mortally wounded by news of any assignation with him. More people will die but not anyone you care about, and certainly not Stone, whom Dino describes, with pardonable understatement, as “the luckiest guy I know.”

Strictly for fans prepared to worry that Woods’ highflying franchise hero may actually breathe his last this time.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08322-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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