Former government official Moss offers a lively, informed, and timely political novel about Cuba's future and America's role...

GHOSTS OF HAVANA

After Havana seizes the fishing boat of four Americans in Cuban waters and holds them captive, the U.S. State Department sends its ace crisis strategist Judd Ryker to the island on a mission that grows more and more mysterious.

Even in the wake of a historic thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Havana remains a thorn in Washington's side. In the aftermath of the boating incident, Florida Congresswoman Brenda Adelman-Zamora, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, calls for the U.S. to suspend diplomatic ties with Cuba and reimpose sanctions. The CIA's unnamed Deputy Director of Operations aims to fuel an insurrection in Cuba but has no clue who is in line to succeed the 86-year-old El Comrade Jefe (read: Raul Castro). The State Department, meanwhile, wants former academic Ryker and his Critical Response Unit, which expertly manipulates moments of crisis in America's favor, to influence Cuba's future. Even before Ryker lands in Cuba for an ultrasecret meeting with military intelligence chief Oswaldo Guerrero—the notorious "Diablo" known for ruining American schemes going back to the Bay of Pigs—Judd's CIA operative wife, Jessica, is in Florida investigating the boaters' shady backgrounds. The book's running gimmick is that husband and wife, who have found themselves at tactical odds in other countries, have promised never again to work on the same case in the same city. But here is Jessica, who's supposed to be vacationing with their kids, counting the lies she's telling Judd as she gets deeper into danger. Though their Mr. & Mrs. Smith act isn't always believable, it gives the book a lighter and breezier appeal than Moss' previous efforts, The Golden Hour (2015) and Minute Zero (2015).

Former government official Moss offers a lively, informed, and timely political novel about Cuba's future and America's role in it.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17593-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

It’s hard to imagine a single white-collar wage slave who won’t thrill to this latest Robin Hood fantasy of righteous...

WORTH DYING FOR

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 15

Whatever business Jack Reacher has in Virginia will have to wait till the world’s most distractible soldier of fortune cleans up the mess he’s stumbled into amid the cornfields of the Midwest.

After hitchhiking as far as Nebraska, Reacher minds his own business precisely long enough for the sozzled doctor sharing a hotel bar with him to get a call from a patient with a nosebleed. Forget about ignoring her, Reacher tells the startled medico. If she’s had nosebleeds recently, she may well be taking aspirin that’s thinned her blood and made it likely that she’ll keep on bleeding. Better to have Reacher drive him to Eleanor Duncan’s house so that he can see whether her husband’s been beating her. In the end, Eleanor’s nosebleed turns out to be inconsequential—it’s not even Seth Duncan who’s beaten her this time—but his perverse, aggressive, utterly characteristic stint as the good Samaritan pulls Reacher into the orbit of Seth’s father Jacob and Seth’s uncles Jasper and Jonas. Because they’re a tight-knit family, they don’t plan to take Reacher’s interference lying down. And because they’re engaged in criminal enterprise, their clients, already putting pressure on them for a mysteriously delayed delivery coming down from Canada, plan to go after this interloper themselves. In a flash, the ex-Army cop is the subject of a manhunt by the Duncans’ thugs, their Italian client’s thugs, the Italian’s Lebanese client’s thugs and the Lebanese’s Iranian clients’ thugs. With so many strong-arm types flooding the prairie, there are plenty of opportunities for violence, treachery and double-crossing—think of a Nebraska remake of A Fistful of Dollars with an international cast—and Child (61 Hours, 2010, etc.) doesn’t miss a single one. By the time he’s finally shaken the dust from his feet, Reacher will have plumbed the depths of a monstrous unsolved crime, cleaned up the county and killed a lot of mostly nameless guys who really deserved it.

It’s hard to imagine a single white-collar wage slave who won’t thrill to this latest Robin Hood fantasy of righteous vengeance.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-34431-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

more