Shocking yet not really surprising.

FALSE CONCLUSION

Kindhearted Bea Abbot takes on yet another worthy cause.

As owner of a well-regarded domestic services agency, Bea already has a lot on her plate. But she never hesitated when her old friend Leon Holland asked her to serve as guardian for his orphaned niece, Bernice. Truth be told, middle-aged Bea enjoys having the lively teenager around—not that she’s around all that much, since she’s a star student at a prestigious boarding school. So Bea’s more than a little disappointed when wealthy, imperious April Trescott insists on driving Bernice home from school instead of letting Bea collect her. Bernice has been given the dubious honor of serving as roommate to April’s niece, Evelina, a fellow orphan, who needs supervision because she suffers from epilepsy. April also presses Bernice to accept an invitation to Evelina’s 16th birthday party, an event Bernice would just as soon skip. But the week before the party, Bea gets an emergency call from April begging her to let Evelina stay with her for a few days while the family sorts out the death of April’s brother, Constant, who was Evelina’s legal guardian. The more time the dull, ill-dressed, ill-groomed Evelina stays in their house, the more Bea and Bernice suspect that she’s not as impaired as her aunt wants them to think and the more Bea wonders whether Bernice’s assignment as Evelina’s roommate was entirely random. With the help of her ex-husband, Piers, another lost soul who falls intermittently under her care, Bea unearths a plot against her family as finely calculated as it is evil.

Shocking yet not really surprising.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8974-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

ONE STEP TOO FAR

Frankie Elkin, a miraculous finder of missing persons, seeks a man who wandered into the wilderness and was never seen again.

Last seen rescuing a missing teenager from the gritty streets of Boston, Frankie embarks from a bus in Ramsey, Wyoming, drawn in by the story of hiker Timothy O’Day, who's been missing for five years, and the last-gasp efforts of his father, Martin, to search for his remains. Frankie has some regrets about leaving Boston, but she's called to find those others have given up on. She manages to finagle her way on to the search party, which in addition to Martin includes a local guide; a search-and-rescue dog and her handler; a Bigfoot expert; and Tim’s friends, who were in the woods with him when he went missing. In the years since, they’ve moved on with their lives, but they are carrying guilt and secrets about the night Tim disappeared. As they all head into the unforgiving wilderness, it quickly becomes apparent that someone is deeply threatened by this effort to find Tim’s body. As she endeavors to draw the truth from each member of the search party, Frankie can tell that she's in over her head, and not only because she’s an inexperienced outdoorswoman. Could Tim still be alive and looking for revenge, or is there a more dangerous secret that someone would kill to protect? Gardner is incredibly skilled at developing tension and suspense; she’s equally skilled at slowly revealing complex characters and their secrets. Both gifts reinforce each other in this novel. If Frankie is out of her element, so are we: It’s not often that a thriller so deeply casts us into the darkness of both nature and the human heart.

Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18541-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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