The second in LoTempio’s series (Purr M for Murder, 2017) reprises her signature blend of cozy and cats in a mild mix sure...



When a disastrous event promoting the local animal shelter leaves an employee as a potential murder suspect, her colleagues and friends rally to clear her name.

Returning to her hometown of Deer Park, North Carolina, wasn’t in Syd McCall’s plan for her life, but it’s suiting her—and Toby, her recently adopted tabby—just fine. She and her nearby sister, Kat, run the Friendly Paws Animal Shelter along with their friend Maggie Shayne, who works with the sisters to make sure all their cats and dogs have safe and loving homes. Their newest promotion, cleverly dubbed Caturday, pairs a book signing with bestselling author and Deer Park native Dudley Simmons with a social adoption event for the shelter. All systems are go until Dudley has an accident that prevents his attendance. Luckily, last-minute guest Ulla Townsend, the hostess of a television shopping show, agrees to fill in. Another Deer Park native, Ulla hasn’t been embraced by her former town the way Dudley has. In fact, when Maggie learns about the new guest, she uncharacteristically refuses to take part in the event. Once Syd meets Ulla, she understands Maggie’s reluctance. Since Caturday is meant to be a one-off, it shouldn’t matter much, but Ulla has what seems like a panic attack. Before Syd even realizes what’s happening, the surprise guest is being led away on a stretcher. Ulla, who doesn’t even make it to the hospital, has evidently been the victim of foul play. What’s worse, Maggie, who’s known to loathe Ulla, becomes a top suspect in her murder. To clear Maggie’s name, Syd has to rely on her boyfriend, homicide detective Will Worthington, as well as her own instincts to pluck the murderer from a sea of enemies.

The second in LoTempio’s series (Purr M for Murder, 2017) reprises her signature blend of cozy and cats in a mild mix sure to please fans of the subgenre.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68331-487-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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