An intriguing, if somewhat uneven, blend of historical speculation and fast-paced thriller.

STRANGE KARMA

In Healy’s novel, a young woman inherits a fortune and a mystery.

American Cynthia Graham assumed that her estranged grandmother had died years ago, so when a British solicitor approaches her with news of an inheritance, she’s more than a little surprised. The legacy is a neglected cottage in the Lake District of England, some land, and a small amount of money. Cynthia finds a cryptic letter, written by her great-grandmother Emma, among her grandmother’s things and then discovers a red gemstone hidden in a desk’s secret compartment. It’s not just any gem; it’s a red diamond, one of the most valuable stones on Earth. Moreover, she finds a batch of letters that indicates that she’s the great-granddaughter of Sandy Irvine, George Mallory’s climbing partner on the ill-fated 1924 Mount Everest ascent. Irvine, it turns out, acquired two gemstones from a local during that trip—only one of which reached Emma. Intrigued by the provenance of the diamond and the whereabouts of its twin, Cynthia heads to Kathmandu where, aided by Gurkha ex-soldier Dorje, she sets about getting to the top of a mountain and the bottom of a mystery. It turns out that someone else acquired the second diamond through nefarious means and is hell-bent on getting the first. What ensues is an exciting, well-written blend of thriller and historical reconstruction; the latter element feels generic at times, but it’s convincing, nonetheless. The quality of the prose is strong throughout, with the depiction of the frozen wasteland of the Himalayas being particularly effective. Things fall apart a bit in the closing chapters, though, with the risky and arguably unnecessary introduction of a mythological element that threatens to undermine the realism of what has gone before. That aside, this is an assured piece of writing from a promising new author.

An intriguing, if somewhat uneven, blend of historical speculation and fast-paced thriller.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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: today

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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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