by Val McDermid ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 6, 2016
This wayward and entertaining mystery has the grace of a heroine on the verge of coming into her own as a character whom...
A fatal car crash leads to information about a cold murder case in the fourth DCI Karen Pirie mystery.
The drunken accident reveals DNA which may allow Karen to make an arrest in a decades old rape/murder. But that's only one of three mysteries in the course of the book. There's also the suicide of a local oddball, which may not be a suicide, and the questions surrounding the death of the man's mother years before in a plane explosion hastily credited to the Irish Republican Army. There's also Karen's interactions with a group of Syrian refugees, which stop just short of being sentimental, and her own continuing attempts to get over the murder of her lover and colleague. That the book is so overstuffed is a mark of the current trend for mysteries to weigh in at 400 pages rather than 200 (or less) lean ones. And since the car crash and the information that flows from it are gradually pushed aside in favor of an investigation of the suspicious death and the plane crash, it would have made sense to allot it far less space. What holds the novel together is Karen. Enough of us have encountered stupid people put in positions of power who take delight in running down the far smarter people beneath them that Karen's refusal to suffer her foolish superiors gladly is very appealing. As is her winning combination of being both brooding and no-nonsense.This wayward and entertaining mystery has the grace of a heroine on the verge of coming into her own as a character whom readers will want to spend time with.
Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016
Page Count: 432
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by Michael Crichton ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2017
Falls short of Crichton’s many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days...
In 1876, professor Edward Cope takes a group of students to the unforgiving American West to hunt for dinosaur fossils, and they make a tremendous discovery.
William Jason Tertullius Johnson, son of a shipbuilder and beneficiary of his father’s largess, isn’t doing very well at Yale when he makes a bet with his archrival (because every young man has one): accompany “the bone professor” Othniel Marsh to the West to dig for dinosaur fossils or pony up $1,000, but Marsh will only let Johnson join if he has a skill they can use. They need a photographer, so Johnson throws himself into the grueling task of learning photography, eventually becoming proficient. When Marsh and the team leave without him, he hitches a ride with another celebrated paleontologist, Marsh’s bitter rival, Edward Cope. Despite warnings about Indian activity, into the Judith badlands they go. It’s a harrowing trip: they weather everything from stampeding buffalo to back-breaking work, but it proves to be worth it after they discover the teeth of what looks to be a giant dinosaur, and it could be the discovery of the century if they can only get them back home safely. When the team gets separated while transporting the bones, Johnson finds himself in Deadwood and must find a way to get the bones home—and stay alive doing it. The manuscript for this novel was discovered in Crichton’s (Pirate Latitudes, 2009, etc.) archives by his wife, Sherri, and predates Jurassic Park (1990), but if readers are looking for the same experience, they may be disappointed: it’s strictly formulaic stuff. Famous folk like the Earp brothers make appearances, and Cope and Marsh, and the feud between them, were very real, although Johnson is the author’s own creation. Crichton takes a sympathetic view of American Indians and their plight, and his appreciation of the American West, and its harsh beauty, is obvious.Falls short of Crichton’s many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days of American paleontology.
Pub Date: May 23, 2017
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017
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