Justice and gratification delayed, but not denied.

THE GARDENS OF THE DEAD

Friar, a former barrister, struggles with the troubled legacy of a dead colleague.

Monk-turned-barrister Brodrick’s second featuring Father Anselm (The 6th Lamentation, 2003) is that uniquely British brand of thriller: no violence (except in the past, obliquely sketched) and no sex—just a plot as byzantine as an obscure chess gambit and suspense driven largely by threatened exposure of the commonalities lurking beneath class distinctions. When Elizabeth Glendinning, a respected London solicitor, dies suddenly of a congenital heart ailment after visiting a flea market, she’s already disseminated a blueprint for the comeuppance of an unsavory client, Graham Riley, whom she once reluctantly defended against a charge of procuring runaway teenagers as prostitutes. Her former co-counsel, Anselm, departed the law for the monastery after his cross-examination of a key witness, George Bradshaw, goaded the latter into fleeing the courtroom, resulting in Riley’s acquittal. Now Anselm, per posthumous instructions, seeks former homeless-shelter manager Bradshaw, who departed home for the streets after his son, John, tried to vindicate his father and drowned under suspicious circumstances. The police were unable to pin John’s murder on prime suspect Riley, who now operates a marginal salvage business with his long-suffering wife, Nancy. Elizabeth apparently thought she could destroy Riley’s reputation by exposing a double set of books, which would somehow facilitate the reopening of the murder case. Or so Anselm and readers suppose throughout the bulk of this book. In meetings on the streets, Elizabeth and Bradshaw had plotted Riley’s downfall. Bradshaw, whose short-term memory was impaired after a beating by young toughs, is supposed to deliver to Anselm notebooks on how evil might be undone, and an envelope containing the goods on Riley—but he misplaces them. When Elizabeth’s plan for exposing Riley proves faulty, the real, unlikely history linking Elizabeth, Bradshaw and Riley emerges. Only the compelling sway exerted by Brodrick’s characters and language render this unwieldy, non-sinister and at times maddeningly non-cohesive narrative impossible to put down.

Justice and gratification delayed, but not denied.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-03498-3

Page Count: 366

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin (What Remains of Me, 2016, etc.) takes the gulf that naturally...

IF I DIE TONIGHT

After a hit-and-run kills a high school student, the court of public opinion convicts a lonely outcast.

When Jackie Reed hears her 17-year-old son, Wade, sneaking out the night before the SATs, she knows she should stop him; instead, she pops a Xanax and returns to bed. At 4 a.m., Jackie’s 13-year-old, Connor, wakes to find a rain-soaked Wade hiding something in his closet; he considers tattling but promises to keep quiet. These seemingly innocuous decisions come back to haunt Jackie and Connor the next morning. While Officer Pearl Maze was working the graveyard shift at the Havenkill, New York, police department, Amy Nathanson burst through the door claiming to have been carjacked. According to Amy, her screams summoned 17-year-old Liam Miller, whom the thief ran over during his escape. The cops canvass the neighborhood for witnesses, and the Reeds are stunned to realize that Wade matches the suspect’s description. Evidence mounts against him, and the community ostracizes his family, but still Wade refuses to divulge his whereabouts at the time of the accident. The book opens with Wade’s suicide note, then flashes back five days and unfolds from the perspectives of Jackie, Connor, Pearl, and Amy. This narrative shift maximizes suspense by forcing readers to guess at Wade’s thoughts and actions, allowing Gaylin to insightfully explore the crime’s ripple effects.

This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin (What Remains of Me, 2016, etc.) takes the gulf that naturally develops between teenagers and their families and stocks it with sharks.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-264111-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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