ENEMY OF THE STATE

Fast-moving, fun, and not overly deep. But if the U.S. has a real-life version of Flynn and Mills' hero, that could be scary.

In the 16th installment of the series started by the late Flynn, author Mills (Order to Kill, 2016, etc.) continues CIA agent Mitch Rapp’s deadly derring-dos.

Fondly recalling the 9/11 attacks, Prince Talal bin Musaid believes that “America was a wounded animal. And he had become the lion.” Meaning, of course, he doesn’t know Mitch Rapp, who has killed so many bad guys it’s a wonder there are any left in the world. The prince is the Saudi Arabian king’s nephew, and he plans to help finance a large-scale Islamic State group attack inside the United States. Meanwhile, Rapp and his lady friend, Claudia, take an extended vacation so he can mend old wounds, but he soon decides that “having a life was a monumental pain in the ass.” When he returns, U.S. President Alexander summons him to say he wants bin Musaid dead but that if Rapp is caught, he’s on his own. So he goes from “the extreme edges of the U.S. intelligence apparatus” to “beyond black.” He resigns from his CIA team and blames injuries from his last op, but then he starts his own rogue group. For $1 he hires Grisha Azarov, an ex–Russian agent whom series fans will recognize as “the most dangerous opponent [Rapp had] ever faced.” And never mind that Azarov had nearly killed Rapp’s CIA boss, Scott Coleman. Hey, it’s nothing personal—they’re all just killers with a job to do, and each “could be as good a friend as…deadly an enemy.” The action is nearly nonstop as the body count builds. Oddly, an Iraqi colonel thinks the “natural state of humanity was chaos,” and America was simply holding it at bay. A lily-livered reader might see an automatic weapon as a curious tool for staving off chaos, but said reader won’t be following this series anyway.

Fast-moving, fun, and not overly deep. But if the U.S. has a real-life version of Flynn and Mills' hero, that could be scary.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8351-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • New York Times Bestseller

PRETTY GIRLS

Slaughter (Cop Town, 2014, etc.) is so uncompromising in following her blood trails to the darkest places imaginable that...

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • New York Times Bestseller

Twenty-four years after a traumatic disappearance tore a Georgia family apart, Slaughter’s scorching stand-alone picks them up and shreds them all over again.

The Carrolls have never been the same since 19-year-old Julia vanished. After years of fruitlessly pestering the police, her veterinarian father, Sam, killed himself; her librarian mother, Helen, still keeps the girl's bedroom untouched, just in case. Julia’s sisters have been equally scarred. Lydia Delgado has sold herself for drugs countless times, though she’s been clean for years now; Claire Scott has just been paroled after knee-capping her tennis partner for a thoughtless remark. The evening that Claire’s ankle bracelet comes off, her architect husband, Paul, is callously murdered before her eyes and, without a moment's letup, she stumbles on a mountainous cache of snuff porn. Paul’s business partner, Adam Quinn, demands information from Claire and threatens her with dire consequences if she doesn’t deliver. The Dunwoody police prove as ineffectual as ever. FBI agent Fred Nolan is more suavely menacing than helpful. So Lydia and Claire, who’ve grown so far apart that they’re virtual strangers, are unwillingly thrown back on each other for help. Once she’s plunged you into this maelstrom, Slaughter shreds your own nerves along with those of the sisters, not simply by a parade of gruesome revelations—though she supplies them in abundance—but by peeling back layer after layer from beloved family members Claire and Lydia thought they knew. The results are harrowing.

Slaughter (Cop Town, 2014, etc.) is so uncompromising in following her blood trails to the darkest places imaginable that she makes most of her high-wire competition look pallid, formulaic, or just plain fake.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-242905-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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