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ALL THAT GLISTERS

A THAD HANLON/BRI DE LA GUERRA MYSTERY

A tension-fueled mystery with plenty of twists and two appealing sleuths.

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In this detective series opener, a 27-year-old accountant becomes the target of a murderous cadre when he accepts a new assignment that takes him from Los Angeles to the East Coast center of power.

Thaddeus Hanlon, a former professional surfer who is a forensic accountant with a top CPA firm, Dodge Whitney; his wife, Marrisa; and close friend Abril “Bri” de la Guerra are enjoying a luxe annual corporate celebration. They are awaiting the return of Rafael “Rafi” Silva, Bri’s fiance and Thad’s best buddy, from Washington, D.C., where he has been working on a special project for Dodge Whitney. Instead, they receive a devastating phone call from Jenny Yu, Rafi’s Washington audit associate. It turns out that Rafi is dead. The police declare his death a suicide but Bri insists he has been murdered (“I know he didn’t kill himself…Rafi would never do that to me”). The next day, Thad is offered Rafi’s job, running an undercover audit of the country’s gold bullion reserve for the Treasury Department’s “Second Gold Commission” at a time when there is political interest in returning to the Gold Standard. The job requires him and six-months-pregnant Marrisa to move to the nation’s capital. It is a career-changing opportunity and a chance to investigate Rafi’s death with Bri. With Thad and Marrisa comfortably settled in a luxurious Georgetown brownstone, the accountant heads to the special project’s base of operations, the multilayered, secure Treasury Liberty Central building. Thad is ready to complete Rafi’s assignment—if he can decipher his buddy’s encrypted notes. Jones’ action-packed murder mystery—complete with two engaging amateur detectives, violent assaults, high-speed car chases through Washington, and an occasionally confusing plethora of bad guys—also serves as a primer on the history of America’s Gold Standard backing of the nation’s currency. Thad’s audit visit to the gold vault, 80 feet below ground at the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan, raises the intriguing possibility of fake bricks mingled in with the legitimate bullion and takes readers through the metal-testing process. Woven into the gripping plot are sensual, detailed descriptions of Thad’s adventures riding the waves, which should please the surfer crowd and afford others a visceral sense of the experience.

A tension-fueled mystery with plenty of twists and two appealing sleuths.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2023

ISBN: 9781509251681

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2023

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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THE BURNING

A brutal, gripping look at murder in a self-enclosed community with many secrets to hide.

When two police officers stop for a bit of dalliance, screams from the nearby woods introduce them to a puzzling and horrifying murder.

Chuck Skidmore and Mona Kurtz don’t arrive in time to rescue a man who’s being burned at the stake, a sight that will haunt their dreams. Police Chief Kate Burkholder arrives on the scene with her husband, John Tomasetti, an agent of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who’ll join her and many other cops in a task force investigating the bizarre murder. Born Amish, Kate ran away from Painters Mill, found her vocation in law enforcement, and eventually came home as the police department’s chief. Over the years, she’s built up some trust with the local Amish community, who generally prefer to keep their problems to themselves. The victim is Milan Swanz, a troubled former schoolmate of Kate’s whom she’s arrested several times. A divorced man with four children, he’d been recently excommunicated by the Amish. Although Milan was far from popular, Kate meets a wall of silence from even her own brother, one of many people who had disputes with the hot-tempered man. Kate’s theory of the crime, based on stories in a book popular with the Amish, is so bizarre that she has trouble believing it herself. When her brother is arrested, she’s removed from the task force but continues to investigate, putting her in the sights of some very determined killers.

A brutal, gripping look at murder in a self-enclosed community with many secrets to hide.

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781250781116

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2024

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