Though Natalie compares Teddy to Chili Palmer, the whole setup is even more like Out of Sight than Get Shorty. Leonard...

GRAND THEFT

Watts takes the Jim Thompson edge off his line in neo-noir comedy (Steal Away, 1996, etc.) and ends up channeling Elmore Leonard at his most genial.

If you kill the top mobster in Philadelphia, sometimes you want to hide the corpse to keep things quiet, but sometimes you want it found, like an Under New Management announcement. When Izzy Feldman, the righthand man to jeweler/gunrunner Saul Rubin, talks Little Anthony Bonica, who just hired him to execute his boss Dominic Scarlotti, into making sure the body is found in order to clarify Anthony’s succession to the throne, Anthony thinks it’ll be good clean fun to stash it in the trunk of Teddy Clyde’s Acura. After all, Anthony grew up with Teddy and his stupid kid brother Davey-Boy without ever developing a tolerance for them, and the fact that Teddy, ostensibly a stockbroker, really makes his money as a high-end car thief just makes the joke a little better. But when the word comes down that Scarlotti had been wired by the Feds preparatory to rolling over on his nearest and dearest, the guys who were present at his whacking suddenly want his remains back, wires and all. If Teddy, accompanied by foxy cocktail waitress/investigative reporter Natalie Prentice, has already laid Scarlotti to rest in a location only they know, well, it’s anybody’s guess who’s going to come out on top in the ensuing flurry of double-crosses. The only thing that’s certain, maybe a little too certain, is that Teddy and Natalie are just so adorable together (“You’re supposed to act like a bad guy,” she coos just before he takes her to bed) that nothing terrible is going to happen to them. It’s pretty much open season on the supporting lowlifes, though.

Though Natalie compares Teddy to Chili Palmer, the whole setup is even more like Out of Sight than Get Shorty. Leonard completists, take note.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-15099-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2003

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

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THE A LIST

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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The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop...

WINTERKILL

The latest in an award-winning series set in the Bighorn Mountains (Savage Run, 2002, etc.).

Minutes after Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett arrests Lamar Gardiner, District Supervisor for the Twelve Sleep National Forest, for firing into a herd of elk, killing seven animals and blindly continuing to reload with cigarettes after he runs out of shells, Gardiner manages to handcuff Joe to his steering wheel and bolt off into a winter storm, only to turn up pinned to a tree with a pair of arrows, his throat cut. And things get even messier from that point on. The attack on a federal agent, together with reports that the Nation of the Rocky Mountain Sovereign Citizens has established an encampment in Twelve Sleep, brings gung-ho US Forest Service investigator Melinda Strickland and FBI sharpshooter Dick Munker, a veteran of Waco and Ruby Ridge, to town. Strickland maintains that she’s just trying to get justice for a murdered official, but she seems awfully eager to tie the perp to the Sovereigns. By the time Joe arrests one of Gardiner’s disappointing killers and identifies the other, Strickland and Munker are already planning an all-out attack on the encampment. The prospect is a personal nightmare for Joe, since Jeannie Keeley, the drifter whose abandoned daughter April Joe and his wife have been trying to adopt, has reclaimed April and spirited her off to the dubious shelter of the Sovereigns.

The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop action and his ability to see every side of the most divisive issues in the West.

Pub Date: May 12, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-15045-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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