A superior entry—and hopefully not the last—in a long-running mystery/thriller series.

TAHOE DEEP

From the Owen Mckenna Mystery Thriller series , Vol. 17

Silent about an apparent murder for eight decades, an elderly man finds the past has violently caught up with him.

In Borg’s (Tahoe Skydrop, 2018, etc.) 17th installment of a series, Tahoe detective Owen McKenna investigates the brutal beating of nearly blind nonagenarian Daniel Callahan, who unconvincingly claims to have injured himself in a fall. Athletically built, dark blonde Mae O’Sullivan, one of Callahan’s neighbors, looks after the elderly man. A member of a diving community (Lake Tahoe is a mere block away), she meets with McKenna, who, after shaking her hand, remarks that she “didn’t crush my fingers, but I sensed that she could put on a serious squeeze if she wanted to.” After the bloated body of a male diver distantly related to Callahan washes up on a nearby beach, authorities have trouble identifying the cause of death but note the corpse has a tattoo of the famous Casper David Friedrich painting The Sea of Ice. From Jay Brandon “Brand” Morse, the dead diver’s sketchy roommate, McKenna learns that the deceased was obsessed with treasure hunting. The detective also discovers a possible link between Callahan’s beating and the matricidal Bosstro brothers, known as “Chinless” and “Flyboy.” The former’s microchin is “nothing more than a little bump on the way to his throat” and the latter sports a tattoo of a “champion horse fly” on his nose. McKenna’s girlfriend, Street Casey, helps connect the dots in a case whose origin reaches back 80 years to Callahan’s long-dead older sister. Casey and McKenna share charming, flirty banter and a love of dogs; he has Spot, a Harlequin Great Dane, and she has Blondie, a Lab. McKenna marvels that when Casey, an entomologist, meets O’Sullivan, a librarian, they find a “common ground, a science undercurrent that operates on research and principles of knowledge.” Conversations throughout the story are realistic and often witty. The vivid characters have a broad range of ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic upbringings, and each one has a distinct voice. The background information on diving, particularly free diving, in which the breath is held, is robust. The book offers a smart, intriguing mystery, and the series gives a strong sense of the Tahoe area, akin to what Carl Hiaasen’s novels provide for Florida.

A superior entry—and hopefully not the last—in a long-running mystery/thriller series.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-931296-27-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Thriller Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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THE BLACK ECHO

Big, brooding debut police thriller by Los Angeles Times crime-reporter Connelly, whose labyrinthine tale of a cop tracking vicious bank-robbers sparks and smolders but never quite catches fire. Connelly shows off his deep knowledge of cop procedure right away, expertly detailing the painstaking examination by LAPD homicide detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch of the death-scene of sometime junkie Billy Meadows, whom Bosch knew as a fellow "tunnel rat" in Vietnam and who's now o.d.'d in an abandoned water tunnel. Pushing Meadows's death as murder while his colleagues see it as accidental, Bosch, already a black sheep for his vigilante-like ways, further alienates police brass and is soon shadowed by two nastily clownish Internal Affairs cops wherever he goes—even to FBI headquarters, which Bosch storms after he learns that the Bureau had investigated him for a tunnel-engineered bank robbery that Meadows is implicated in. Assigned to work with beautiful, blond FBI agent Eleanor Wish, who soon shares his bed in an edgy alliance, Bosch comes to suspect that the robbers killed Meadows because the vet pawned some of the loot, and that their subsequent killing of the only witness to the Meadows slaying points to a turned cop. But who? Before Bosch can find out, a trace on the bank-robbery victims points him toward a fortune in smuggled diamonds and the likelihood of a second heist—leading to the blundering death of the IAD cops, the unveiling of one bad cop, an anticipated but too-brief climax in the L.A. sewer tunnels, and, in a twisty anticlimax, the revelation of a second rotten law officer. Swift and sure, with sharp characterizations, but at heart really a tightly wrapped package of cop-thriller cliches, from the hero's Dirty Harry persona to the venal brass, the mad-dog IAD cops, and the not-so-surprising villains. Still, Connelly knows his turf and perhaps he'll map it more freshly next time out.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 1992

ISBN: 0-316-15361-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1991

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