Solidly written coming-of-age tale with an endearing and believable hero.



Young Chicago cop is torn between loyalty and doing the right thing when he and his partner are implicated in the murder of a Lithuanian jeweler.

For Officer Ray Weiss, part of the experience of being a “boot,” or rookie, on the force is undergoing an initiation rite in order to prove his allegiance to his fellow cops. Weiss’s assignment—breaking into a jewelry store and stealing a ring for his partner Jack Fiore’s wife—is especially risky, knowing how deeply it would disappoint his straight-edged lieutenant father. But he goes through with the late-night robbery anyway, nearly tripping over the corpse of storeowner Petras Ipolitas. Needless to say, it looks bad for Weiss and Fiori, until the older cop has them track down Ipolitas’s countryman and business rival Jurgis Ambrozas, an illegal immigrant who has a trunk full of firearms. Something about the quick arrest does not sit well with Weiss, though; attractive Detective Sloane Pearson, who enlists his help in the investigation, is also suspicious. Figuring that Weiss is hot for the no-nonsense Sloane (he is), his buddies are uneasy about his cooperation with her, fearing exposure of their petty corruption. And they should be. As Weiss digs deeper, he discovers, among other things, a damning connection between Ipolitas and Fiori, in what appears to be a ring trafficking in young Lithuanian women. For his trouble, Weiss is menaced at home, his front window shot out and the place nearly set ablaze. Feeling confused and betrayed, and fearing for his life, Weiss is then called on to make a difficult choice—if the real killer does not stop him first. What Schwegel’s second novel (after Officer Down, 2005) might lack in innovation it makes up for with convincing local color and the winning depiction of Weiss. Hotheaded, hormonal, yet vulnerable and eager to please, the 23-year-old’s bright future in the genre seems inevitable.

Solidly written coming-of-age tale with an endearing and believable hero.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2007

ISBN: 0-312-34316-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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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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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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