Another satisfying detective novel from Borg, featuring a hero who walks confidently in the footsteps of Sam Spade, Philip...

Tahoe Blue Fire

AN OWEN MCKENNA MYSTERY THRILLER

From the Owen Mckenna Mystery Thriller series

In Borg’s (Tahoe Ghost Boat, 2014) latest series mystery, Nevada private detective Owen McKenna investigates the death of a client and uncovers a mystery that goes back 500 years.

In Tahoe, McKenna takes on a paranoid new client, Scarlett Milo, who fears for her life, and she’s soon found shot to death. The private eye rapidly discovers a possible link to the recent deaths of Darla Ali and Sean Warner, who were both killed by a snowplow. The murder also appears to be connected to a fire at the home of former pro football player Adam Simms; he’s suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of taking too many hits on the field, so he isn’t much help to the investigation. But on his own, McKenna goes on to figure out that all the victims had an interest in the Medici family of Renaissance Italy. Accompanied by his girlfriend, Street Casey, the private detective travels to Florence and learns about a diamond that the Medicis owned five centuries ago: the Blue Flame of Florence, which is similar in worth to the famous Hope Diamond. Improbably, Frank Sinatra once bought the Blue Flame as a gift to woo Marilyn Monroe, but its current whereabouts are anyone’s guess—which explains why someone might think it’s worth taking so many lives. McKenna and Street return to Tahoe for a final confrontation with the killer, who will stop at nothing to locate the gem. Fans of old school private eye novels will be in their element with this latest Owen McKenna adventure. Borg doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, but he doesn’t need to do so when he composes his story with such sturdy elements: a dogged gumshoe hero, a gripping narrative, a MacGuffin with an engaging back story, and a tangled but comprehensible mystery plot. As with his previous book, the author also adds a human dimension—this time in the form of McKenna’s touching relationship with Simms, which puts a human face on the tragedy of CTE.

Another satisfying detective novel from Borg, featuring a hero who walks confidently in the footsteps of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and Lew Archer.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-931296-23-6

Page Count: 351

Publisher: Thriller Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2015

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

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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An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on...

MYSTIC RIVER

After five adventures for Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and his off-again lover Angela Gennaro (Prayers for Rain, 1999, etc.), Lehane tries his hand at a crossover novel that’s as dark as any of Patrick’s cases.

Even the 1975 prologue is bleak. Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus are playing, or fighting, outside Sean’s parents’ house in the Point neighborhood of East Buckingham when a car pulls up, one of the two men inside flashes a badge, and Sean and Jimmy’s friend Dave Boyle gets bundled inside, allegedly to be driven home to his mother for a scolding but actually to get kidnapped. Though Dave escapes after a few days, he never really outlives his ordeal, and 25 years later it’s Jimmy’s turn to join him in hell when his daughter Katie is shot and beaten to death in the wilds of Pen Park, and State Trooper Sean, just returned from suspension, gets assigned to the case. Sean knows that both Dave and Jimmy have been in more than their share of trouble in the past. And he’s got an especially close eye on Jimmy, whose marriage brought him close to the aptly named Savage family and who’s done hard time for robbery. It would be just like Jimmy, Sean knows, to ignore his friend’s official efforts and go after the killer himself. But Sean would be a lot more worried if he knew what Dave’s wife Celeste knows: that hours after catching sight of Katie in the last bar she visited on the night of her death, Dave staggered home covered with somebody else’s blood. Burrowing deep into his three sorry heroes and the hundred ties that bind them unbearably close, Lehane weaves such a spellbinding tale that it’s easy to overlook the ramshackle mystery behind it all.

An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on his characters’ heads.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16316-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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