An elegant tale of an introspective detective whose life experiences have seared his soul without extinguishing his hope.


A macabre murder is subordinate to a police officer’s other concerns.

Officer Henry Farrell is a native of Wild Thyme, a small town in the Endless Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, a region of great natural beauty whose denizens depend on struggling dairy farms, logging, stonecutting, and, more recently, fracking; there's also been an influx of outsiders, some of them drug dealers, meth cookers, and grifters (Fateful Mornings, 2017, etc.). When Terry Ceallaigh (pronounced "Kelly") reports finding a badly mauled, headless body in the woods, it at first appears to have been the casualty of a bear attack. But further investigation and the discovery of the head indicate murder followed by mauling by an opportunistic bear, which must be killed. Meanwhile, Henry is preparing for his second marriage; his fiancee, Miss Julie, is the daughter of wealthy parents, an EMT with some problems in her past. She knows that Henry’s first wife died tragically young but doesn’t know of the affair he had with Shelly Bray, who lost her children in the nasty divorce that followed. The wedding guests include Henry’s parents, with whom he has a rocky relationship, and his sister, Mag, and her kids, who decide to stay for a while after the celebration instead of heading home to North Carolina. While Henry and wildlife biologist Mary Weaver are hunting the bear, they’re attacked by a man with a knife. No one who worked with the dead man, who turns out to be Carl Dentry, a semiretired private investigator from the Harrisburg area, is willing to tell Henry anything, including what Dentry was doing in Wild Thyme. Then Shelly is murdered, and Henry is an obvious suspect. When his nephew Ryan vanishes, Henry takes to the woods, using every skill he learned as a young man and leaning on some lifelong friendships in an effort to find Ryan, save his marriage, and discover who killed Dentry and is gunning for him.

An elegant tale of an introspective detective whose life experiences have seared his soul without extinguishing his hope.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-24966-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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?

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?