Thrillers Book Reviews (page 498)

INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE by Philip Friedman
THRILLERS
Released: Nov. 30, 1992

"For pyrotechnical range and open- mouthed surprise, though, Friedman (Reasonable Doubt, 1990, etc.) has nothing on Richard North Patterson's Degree of Guilt (below). (Literary Guild Dual Selection for January)"
Three years ago, Roberto Morales, self-made developer of Brooklyn's Phoenix Project, was convicted of manslaughter in the brutal sex killing of Mariah Dodge, his associate and lover. Read full book review >
CHINESE RED by E. Howard Hunt
THRILLERS
Released: Nov. 23, 1992

"Period piece for the Cuban-cigar set."
A retired spook gets sucked back into the geopolitical slugfest in the last days of the Soviet Union, where the bad old Stalinists want to do a deal with the bad old Red Chinese to quash the threat of peace. Read full book review >

THE PORCUPINE by Julian Barnes
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

"Little about much."
Barnes's famously light touch is applied to a bar of lead here: the nauseated, exhausted atmosphere of a newly de-Socialized Balkan state. Read full book review >
STATE V. JUSTICE by Gallatin Warfield
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 19, 1992

"Russian diplomats, interagency rivalries, and a tooth-and-nail legal battle between wily sworn enemies—all these sure-fire hooks get neutralized by Warfield's flatly moralized characters, one-dimensional plot complications, absent-minded handling of subplots, and distaste for genuine mystery."
Despite a publicity blitz unusual for a first novel (an initial printing of 50,000), this tale of how an open-and-shut case against a convicted pedophile for the murder of a Russian diplomat's son runs up against the defense attorney's maniacal hatred of the upright D.A. doesn't give Scott Turow much competition. Read full book review >
THE PROSECUTOR by Thomas Chastain
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 18, 1992

"Old-pro Chastain (the Perry Mason series; Nightscape, etc.) shuffles his boxcars so dexterously—two of Anne's cases hook up in a surprising twist—that many fans of the George Gideon stories will forgive writing as perfunctory as a Hollywood screen treatment."
Tough times for Anne Gillman, Manhattan's first female D.A.: What looks like a bungled robbery turned homicidal just might be a carefully planned murder whose investigator, chief homicide detective Charley Stenten, is smitten with the suspicious widow; the corpse of a serial romancer-killer's next-to-latest victim turns up days too late for the not-guilty verdict; the morning after Anne's secret lover, Lieutenant John Holland, warns new crime boss Roy Clayton that the old bosses have threatened his life, several old-guard stalwarts and their lieutenants turn up missing; and rumors of a rogue cop feeding Clayton inside info turn into a plot to discredit Anne and Holland. Read full book review >

WALKING DEAD MAN by Mary Kittredge
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 17, 1992

"Not in a class with root-canal work, but at times seeming as protracted."
Another frenetic adventure for ex-nurse, now p.i. Read full book review >
LOST BOYS by Orson Scott Card
THRILLERS
Released: Nov. 7, 1992

"Affecting, genuine, poignant, uplifting: a limpid, beautifully orchestrated new venture from an author already accomplished in other fields."
First mainstream outing—a family drama with a touch of the supernatural—from the leading fantasist (the Alvin Maker series) and sf writer (The Memory of Earth, p. 81). Read full book review >
MEMORIES OF THE FORD ADMINISTRATION by John Updike
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 3, 1992

"The idea of macro- and micro-history clearly is something Updike wanted to chew over (as he did the ramifications of computers in Roger's Version) but it's the grounded experience of wanting and losing that grows the grass."
His dreadful play of some years back, Buchanan Dying, must have left Updike with a raft of research material that he seems now to have taken and thrust into the fictional hands of a New Hampshire girls'-college historian, Alf Clayton, who's writing a sympathetic book about Buchanan, the president that had the misfortune to usher in the Civil War. Read full book review >
BLACK DOGS by Ian McEwan
THRILLERS
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"His lapidary prose neatly disguises his search for transcendence."
As in McEwan's last novel, The Innocent (1990), the Berlin Wall plays an important symbolic role in this fictional meditation on evil—a pseudo-memoir written from a post-cold-war perspective. Read full book review >
THE VENERABLE BEAD by Richard Condon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Betrayal of love and trust leads to a repeat ending of Prizzi's Honor that's even wilder than the original."
Galloping satire whose hairpin turns can be followed only by God (the Bible) and Condon (The Manchurian Candidate, etc. etc.), and one of those may still be in the dark. Read full book review >
RED SQUARE by Martin Cruz Smith
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Russia as one of the great romances of thriller fiction. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for December)"
Inspector Arkady Renko, banished to a Soviet factory-ship in Polar Star (1989), returns to Moscow on the eve of the Coup—and steps into the kind of intrigue, atmosphere, and excitement not seen from Smith since Renko's megaselling debut in Gorky Park (1981). Read full book review >
AUNT DIMITY'S DEATH by Nancy Atherton
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Amiable, stylishly written—often with a touch of wry humor: a first novel for readers with an interest in the occult—and a high tolerance level for sentimental silliness."
Thirtyish Lori Shepherd—divorced; her mother recently deceased; her expertise in rare books finding no takers—is sharing digs and doing temp work when a letter reaches her from Willis and Willis, a venerable Boston law firm. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Bill Browder
author of RED NOTICE
March 24, 2015

Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >