As usual, Oleksiw spins a placid, slow-burning mystery that won’t disturb your dreams. The real star here is Pioneer Valley,...



The chronicler of the English village of Mellingham and the Anita Ray mysteries (For the Love of Parvati, 2014, etc.) kicks off a new series set in the bucolic Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

Felicity O’Brien’s family has farmed the same plot of land for 300 years with little incident, but now something is clearly up. Felicity feels obliged to fire a shot into the darkness when she hears signs of an intruder for the third night running. Local realtor Marilyn Kvorak tells her that Franklin M. Gentile, whoever he is, wants to buy her spread for a seven-figure sum, a figure that’s put stars in the eyes of Jeremy Colson, her life partner of 15 years. Her neighbor Clarissa Jenkins dies when her car plows into a tree on Felicity’s property under the eyes of young bicyclist Nathan Holyoake. Soon afterward, Felicity finds the body of Clarissa’s cousin Sasha Glover sitting dead beneath another tree. What’s suddenly made Felicity’s parcel, and perhaps those of her neighbors, so valuable that it’s worth fighting and killing for? Maybe the clues lie in the gambling debts that Lance Gauthier, Felicity’s logger, has piled up. Maybe the secret is locked in the head of her father, Walter O’Brien. But Lance isn’t talking, and Walter’s health problems have left him apt to ramble on—and to ramble off, as he does one day when he vanishes from the grounds of the Pasquanata Community Home. As she makes the rounds of her little town asking decorous questions, Felicity can only hope that the culprit is Kyle Morgan, Sasha’s unsuitable boyfriend, because if it isn’t, chances are that it’s someone much closer to her heart.

As usual, Oleksiw spins a placid, slow-burning mystery that won’t disturb your dreams. The real star here is Pioneer Valley, a place that conveys an identity deeper and more memorable than that of any of its denizens.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7387-5891-6

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.


FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).

Imagine Florida beachcombers’ shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot’s amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where “something terrible was happening” in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is “a most baffling case indeed” for the brilliant Pendergast, but it’s the type of problem he thrives on. He’s hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he’s part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his “extraordinarily beautiful,” smart, and sarcastic young “ward” who has “eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing.” Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and “every inch a Fed.” Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.

Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4725-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...


A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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