A page-turning addition to a series and a chilling but enjoyable read.



Two seemingly unrelated, tragic events intersect in this fourth installment of a mystery series starring a police officer known affectionately as “the Tracker.”

On Jan. 7, 2019, a fierce storm rages off the small Oregon coastal village of Driftwood. Three crab fishermen, Derek Lea, Rick Perrins, and skipper Carl Hamisu, are aboard the Johnny B. Goode when the engine suddenly dies. Before the Coast Guard can reach them, the boat is hit broadside by a massive wave and capsizes. When news breaks the next day that all three men were lost at sea, the tightknit community is overcome by grief. Police officer Charley Whitehorse, who knew Carl, feels there is something vaguely troubling about the calamity. How could the captain, who was so meticulous about his boat and experienced in sailing the treacherous waters around the Dungeness sandbars, get caught by the storm? But moments after Charley enters Driftwood’s three-person police station, a new problem presents itself. Chiara, the delightfully quirky, young, and especially competent assistant who keeps middle-aged Charley and his partner, Tony Esperanza, up to date about social media and internet searches, fields a phone call from the distressed mother of 21-year-old Patricia Carmody. The parent, who lives in Rhode Island, has been unable to contact her daughter residing in Driftwood’s neighboring town of Neskowin. The calls keep going to voicemail, and she is certain something has happened to Patricia. She is right. Cook’s engrossing narrative maintains a steady pace, employing a successful mix of police procedural and violent action. There is a plethora of bad guys—from the head of the Russian mob in Portland, Oregon, to lower level local thugs and a notorious Russian assassin—who have Charley in their sights. But the author provides some relief from the darkness of drugs, human trafficking, sabotage, and death with light bantering and conviviality among Charley, Tony, and Chiara. And although she only has a supporting role, Patricia is a strong force to be reckoned with, a determined and resourceful character. A not totally satisfying conclusion suggests the possibility of a fifth volume.

A page-turning addition to a series and a chilling but enjoyable read.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 979-8-62-182946-9

Page Count: 295

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

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A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.


Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-641-29333-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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

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