Overplotted even by Mosley’s standards, with precious little chance to savor each scene and speaker before they’re hustled...

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ALL I DID WAS SHOOT MY MAN

The release of a convicted killer who doesn’t happen to be a thief offers another crack at redemption for impossibly compromised New York private eye Leonid McGill (When the Thrill Is Gone, 2011, etc.).

Zella Grisham is the only client McGill’s ever had whom he knows to be innocent. Who could know better than him, when gambler Stumpy Brown, worried that the NYPD would link him to the $58 million Rutgers Assurance heist, hired McGill nine years ago to frame her for the theft? As Stumpy pointed out at the time, Zella made the perfect patsy because she was already headed for jail after shooting her lover Harry Tangelo when she found him in bed with Minnie Lesser, her former best friend. Now that McGill’s lawyer, Breland Lewis, has wangled Zella’s release, the frame-up isn’t looking like such a good idea. Harry Tangelo has disappeared. So has the daughter Zella gave up for adoption. There’s no trace of the missing $58 million, and McGill has no idea where to look for the loot. On the plus side, everyone he runs into, from low-rent grifter Sweet Lemon Charles to Rutgers bigwig Johann Brighton, acts as if they’re involved in some sort of felonious activity. As usual, the list of suspicious characters extends to McGill’s own family, even before they’re nearly killed by a pair of nameless intruders. His wife Katrina, who pulled the plug on their sex life years ago, seems determined to drink herself to death. His blood son, Dimitri, has hooked up with unsuitable Tatyana Baranovich, an ex-hooker from Belarus, and plans to move in with her. McGill just hopes he can do a better job rescuing Katrina’s son Twill from the life of crime he seems destined for than he’s doing rescuing Zella Grisham from the consequences of the crime she never committed.

Overplotted even by Mosley’s standards, with precious little chance to savor each scene and speaker before they’re hustled offstage to make room for the next.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59448-824-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Patterson's thrillers (Virgin, 1980; Black Market, 1986) have plummeted in quality since his promising debut in The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)—with this latest being the sorriest yet: a clanky and witless policer about a criminal mastermind and the cop sworn to take him down. Aside from watching sympathetic homicide dick John ("Stef") Stefanovich comeing to terms with a wheelchair-bound life—legacy of a shotgun blast to the back by drug-and-gun-running archfiend Alexandre St.-Germain—the major interest here lies in marvelling at the author's trashing of fiction convention. The whopper comes early: although St.-Germain is explicity described as being machine-gunned to death by three vigilante cops in a swank brothel (". . .a submachine gun blast nearly ripped off the head of Alexandre St.-Germain"; "The mobster's head and most of his neck had been savaged by the machine-gun volley. The body looked desecrated. . ."), before you know it this latter-day Moriarty is stepping unscathed out of an airplane. What gives? Authorial cheating, that's what—thinly glossed over with some mumbling later on about a "body double." Not that St.-Germain's ersatz death generated much suspense anyway, with subsequent action focusing on, among other items, the gory killings of assorted mob bosses by one of the vigilante cops, and Stef's viewing of pornographic tapes confiscated from that brothel. But readers generous enough to plod on will get to read about the newly Lazarus-ized St.-Germain's crass efforts to revitalize and consolidate the world's crime syndicates ("the Midnight Club"), Stef's predictable tumble for a sexy true-crime writer, and how (isn't one miracle enough for Patterson?) at book's end Stef walks again and gets to embrace a rogue cop who's murdered several people. Ironsides with a badge and a lobotomy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988

ISBN: 0446676411

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988

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