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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An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

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THE BITTERROOTS

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.

Cassie Dewell’s been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn’t want to look into the case of Rachel’s newest client. That’s partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porché, his 15-year-old niece. And there’s plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn’t have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there’s an even more compelling reason not to: The Kleinsassers—Horst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny’s thrice-divorced mother—are not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn’t one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one’s supposed to be.

An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box’s best.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-05105-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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