It’s a salute to Hill to say he is no Herbert Warren Wind or Michael Murphy; this golfing saga is all his own.


A Perfect Lie: The Hole Truth


A story of 18 holes that many Sunday golfers would be proud to call their own.

Hill’s tale of Don Reynolds having one of those magical days on the links has the immediacy of a memoir. Don and his friend Pablo (a red herring of a character, since we never learn why he urinates so much) are playing a game of skins with two strangers, Kenny (the hacker neophyte) and Philip (the wisenheimer), and the foursome in front. The course is a breezy, scorching Southern California desert landscape, which Hill draws intimately—“the color scheme touches all phases of the palette from beige to brown, yellow to orange, and silver to green.” As Philip razzingly coaches his brother Kenny along—“Get back on your right side. Get over your right testicle. It’s all on the right testicle, dude”—Don slowly gathers his game. He’s no duffer, nor is he a scratch shooter, but he is headed that way. He keeps racking up the pars, a birdie now and a bogey then. Don is a likably familiar guy, self-deprecating and carefree in his honesty—he admits to smoking Salem Lights, heaven help him—then gets a little tetchy as the pressure mounts. Don’s mind hops all over, from Camus to the fake boulders on the golf course to Usain Bolt to the unhinged (“I’ve never finished even par for 18 holes; that’s...better than my best sexual fantasy come true”). Debut author Hill occasionally overwrites (“It disappears into the sand like Absolut into orange juice”), so when Don slips into the zone—a place where many a sportswriter has gone to die—during his final three holes, it’s no gimme. But Hill nails it square, feeling that out-of-body state of dazed awareness when everything is lit from within and time slows to a saunter.

It’s a salute to Hill to say he is no Herbert Warren Wind or Michael Murphy; this golfing saga is all his own.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014


Page Count: -

Publisher: 7-Iron Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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