A tale of white-collar crime that crackles with energy.


In this debut thriller, an American banker’s business trip to Paris finds him unwittingly entangled in an embezzler’s deadly revenge plot.

Paul Hart’s boss at Calhoun Capital in New York, James Hutchens, sends him to Paris to take a closer look at Renard Industries. CEO Claude Renard is a client at Calhoun, but as his current holdings are “minimal,” Hutchens wants him to move more money to the American company. Once in Paris, Hart initially meets Renard’s director of affairs, Clara Nouvelle, who essentially vets him on her boss’s behalf. Hart is understandably anxious. He has no strategy for gathering information on Renard Industries, and Hutchens has even implied that Hart’s career is at stake. But Hart finds solace in Clara, and he falls for the beguiling, self-assured woman in no time. The business trip takes an unexpected turn after Clara and Hart head to London for “a black-tie charity auction.” It’s an opportunity for Hart to meet associates of Renard’s, including his London banker, Igor Romanski. Hart doesn’t trust Igor, in part for his apparent smugness and aggressive mannerisms. But readers know that Igor has been embezzling money and laundering it for quite some time in London. And he has even bigger plans, including some type of revenge that includes an attack. As Igor’s scheme soon entails outright murder, Hart is in imminent danger. He also realizes that someone’s deception has put him in trouble with the Parisian authorities, and he may have to clear his name, provided he can stay alive. Though Flynn’s novel has little action or suspense, the plot moves at a steady clip. Hart is in Paris relatively quickly while his romance with Clara is almost instantaneous. The protagonist’s backstory is captivating: Dating Hutchens’ daughter, Veronica, led to his Calhoun job. Despite Veronica dumping Hart, Hutchens has continued to employ him. This makes Hart a vulnerable and sympathetic character, especially in light of Hutchens vaguely threatening his position at Calhoun. Although Hart concentrates on and periodically ogles Clara’s physical traits, she is a resourceful character whose many attributes gradually come to light, especially in the final act. The author shrewdly keeps the characters to a minimum and the story largely free of complications, like extraneous subplots. While this approach produces a clearly defined good guy and bad guy (Hart and Igor), there’s an overall wariness among other characters. More than one individual, for example, has been keeping secrets from Hart. Those secrets ultimately result in several plot twists, though at least a couple are ones readers will easily predict. Still, that doesn’t hamper the action when it finally arrives in the form of a shootout, a car chase, and more. Throughout the book, Flynn rigorously details environments, like scenes in London: “Continuing towards the Thames, they emerged from the smaller, narrow streets into an open square….Apartments were being refurbished, and dumpsters and heavy machinery were scattered about, the old brick buildings surrounding them looking in dire need of repair.”

A tale of white-collar crime that crackles with energy.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019


Page Count: 272

Publisher: Papillon Press

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2019

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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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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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