The Author’s Note and corresponding Pinterest board show Whittle’s painstaking commitment to the details of her heroine’s...

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NECESSARY ENDS

Partners in work and life investigate the Hollywood crew that’s come to town.

When he’s first approached to reopen the Jessica Talbot murder, a cold case from years before, Trey Seaver isn’t having it. He’s certain former producer Nick Talbot killed his wife even though Nick ended up going free. Although Trey was the second to respond to the crime scene, his police days are far behind, and he has no interest in dredging up the past. But a threat on Nick’s life has made Trey a potential suspect, and he’s obligated if not blackmailed to look into the case with the help of Tai Randolph, his partner in all things (Reckoning and Ruin, 2016, etc.). Tai knows Trey to be an excellent reader of people, a human lie detector, and when Nick pleads his case as an innocent man, Trey believes him and agrees to do whatever it takes to clear his name. Tai and Trey attempt to go undercover on the local Atlanta set of Moonshine, which Nick’s working on along with writer Addison Canright, with whom Nick was cheating on Jessica and to whom he’s now engaged. Nick’s relationship with Addison is made even more complicated by his psychiatric history, which has led her to seek full conservatorship over him. Though Tai and Trey’s undercover work is an ill-kept secret, the two get plenty of interested parties to spill their guts in hopes of disclosing the truth. Surrounded by a set of trained actors, Trey’s difficulty in fingering the liar among the bunch makes him fear that his superpower may be dwindling. And Tai, who seems to think she’s the archetypal spirited Southern girl with a few tricks up her sleeve, doesn’t display the wit and verve that would make her a more appealing protagonist.

The Author’s Note and corresponding Pinterest board show Whittle’s painstaking commitment to the details of her heroine’s expensive La Perla lingerie and her hero’s Ferrari in an adventure aimed at those with similar aspirations.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4642-0983-3

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

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THE BITTERROOTS

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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