It’s hard to believe Mosley once gave serious thought to killing off his first detective hero. He’s still got plenty of game.

BLOOD GROVE

The uneasy passage of Easy Rawlins through late-20th-century Los Angeles continues at the hinge of the 1960s and '70s in one of the knottiest cases of the Black detective’s long and bloody career.

It’s one thing trying to solve a murder. It’s still another trying to prevent a murder. But try helping somebody determine whether he murdered someone or not—and without any evidence, like, say, blood or a corpse. That’s the dicey situation facing private eye Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins in the summer of 1969 when Vietnam War veteran Craig Kilian wanders into his office carrying a nasty bruise on his head and an especially volatile strain of post-traumatic stress syndrome. It takes an abrupt and violent mood swing before Craig manages to tell Easy about a moonlight encounter in an orange grove involving a half-naked White woman tied to a tree, screaming “Alonzo” as someone Craig describes as “a big black man with long straight hair” is standing next to her with a knife. Craig lunges at what he believes to be the woman’s attacker, and all Craig remembers before being knocked unconscious is wrestling with the other man on the ground and feeling the knife sink into the other man’s chest. When Craig comes to, there’s no one around the campsite but a small black dog. “No white girl or black man. I didn’t even see any blood on the ground,” says Craig, who wants Easy to find out where they went and whether he killed the man. Easy’s got an inventory of questions, chiefly how somebody like Craig got referred to him in the first place. Nevertheless, Easy, who served in Europe during World War II, takes the case, partly in solidarity with a fellow vet’s travails. It doesn’t take long for Easy to begin regretting this decision as he finds himself fitfully making his way through a minefield of thieves, crime bosses, prostitutes, goons, and, as always, racist White cops who even after a decade of civil rights laws, race riots, and cultural upheaval can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that a smart, self-possessed Black man like Easy Rawlins, who at this point in the series is pushing 50, deserves to drive around LA in a yellow Rolls Royce that belongs to him.

It’s hard to believe Mosley once gave serious thought to killing off his first detective hero. He’s still got plenty of game.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49118-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

ABANDONED IN DEATH

June 2061 is a perilous time for women in a downtown Manhattan neighborhood who happen to resemble a violent kidnapper’s mother.

The killer doesn’t seem to be trying to hide anything except his own identity. Ten days after snatching bartender Lauren Elder from the street as she walked home, he leaves her body, carefully dressed and made up, with even the gash in her throat meticulously stitched up and beribboned, where it’s sure to be found quickly, along with the chilling label “bad mommy.” When Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody realize that Anna Hobe, a server at a nearby karaoke bar who disappeared a week ago under similar circumstances, was probably another victim of the same perp, the clock begins ticking down even before they learn that assistant marketing manager Mary Kate Covino has gone missing as well. Dallas, Peabody, and the helpers who’ve made Robb’s long-lived franchise even more distinctive than its futuristic setting race to find the women or identify their kidnapper before he reverts once again to the 5-year-old abandoned by his mother many years ago. The emphasis this time is on investigative procedure, forensics (beginning with the Party Girl perfume and the Toot Sweet moisturizer the murderer uses on the corpses of his victims), and the broader danger women in every generation face from men who just can’t grow up.

A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7821-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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