MARAUDERS

Stumbling, overplotted female-lawyer-in-peril tale continues the adventures of the beautiful but brainy Madison McCall (Outlaws, 1996), from former Atlanta Falcons footballer Green. Evan Chase, the appropriately crass, womanizing owner of the Florida Marauders, drowns after taking his regular morning plunge into the Palm Beach surf. What appear to be bruises around one of Chase's ankles signal foul play to homicide cop Lt. Donald Kratch, who's so overzealous in bringing in the bad guys that he was once willing to shoot himself (``nothing more than graze his own scalp'') in order to frame a drug-dealer. Meanwhile, Green treats us to pointlessly grisly scenes of a tall, handsome, muscular, unnamed black man stalking and then stabbing several people to death as the dangerously obsessive Kratch decides that Luther Zorn- -a tall, black, handsome, muscular hard-charging Marauders linebacker—is the likeliest suspect for Chase's murder, and perhaps for the other homicides as well. Zorn, after all, was having a torridly passionate affair with Chase's wife, Vivian, and was glimpsed at the scene. Worse, Zorn has been undergoing psychoanalysis for barely repressed, violently homicidal rages—a souvenir of a tragic underclass childhood. Into this mess strides the stunning, ultracompetent McCall. Now married to retired football safety Cody Grey, she finds herself sexually intrigued by Zorn, whom she agrees to defend. This infuriates the ``wolf,'' a mystery man framing Zorn as part of a tediously complicated plan to move the Marauders out of Florida in a way that would enrich charming corporate raider Aaron Crawford. Before McCall can even think of going into a courtroom, however, she's marked for death and ends up having an unscheduled meeting with Zorn's evil brother Leeland. Green does offer a few exciting scenes of football action, but they sink in a dim swamp of gratuitous bloodshed and interracial fury. (Radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-57036-366-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

THINGS IN JARS

Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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