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CHASING SHADOWS

GENESIS

A wonderfully suspenseful and engrossing thriller.

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In this debut mystery, a man tries to find the killer of a socialite, but his search may take him down darker paths than he could ever have imagined.

In Jones’ story, which opens in 1924, New Yorker Jarek Videni has come to Minnesota to investigate the vicious murder of socialite Sarah O’Connell. She was found stabbed to death in her home library in St. Paul with her heart ripped out. The police have no suspects, and her heart is still missing. Jarek, “an intuitive,” journeyed to the Midwest of “his own accord. However, the travel was significantly prodded” by the anonymous “letters he received requesting help.” Sarah left behind her husband, Martin, an amiable and cheerful man who appears normal but has recently been sleepwalking and acting strangely. Also grieving for Sarah is her college-age daughter, Annie, who has responded by becoming reclusive, delving into as many books as she can find and becoming angry at her father. Finally, there is Rose Smith, the governess who oversees the housekeeping and cooking and has been with the family so long she is practically a member. All three have deep, dark secrets that Jarek slowly begins to uncover. But doing so puts him in danger of a horrible darkness that could overtake them all. Jarek discovers that while Sarah was a woman of great standing in the city, she was involved with the local spiritualist community. There is more at play in this great house than earthly schemes. Jones interweaves intense thrills with the supernatural to create a superb mystery that is surprising as well as rewarding. Jarek is a remarkable sleuth with a calm and kind disposition whose knowledge helps drive the plot as he faces realistic limitations. Martin, Annie, and Rose have believable personal dynamics and conflicts that support the mystery elements. Annie has an apparent animosity toward her father but still cares for him and shows concern for his weird behavior. Rose is protective of the family that gave her a chance and welcomed her, but she knows more about the O’Connells than she lets on. The twists and turns of the plot as well as unexpected character revelations make for a carefully constructed thriller that is a gripping addition to the horror genre.

A wonderfully suspenseful and engrossing thriller. (Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 979-8986344003

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Water Sign Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2022

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CITY IN RUINS

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

The dramatic conclusion to the trilogy about two New England crime families begun in City on Fire (2022) and City of Dreams (2023).

Near the end of his journey, multimillionaire Danny Ryan watches a casino implode in a mushroom cloud of dust and muses about his life’s implosions: “The cancer that killed his wife, the depression that destroyed his love, the moral rot that took his soul.” Danny is from Providence, Rhode Island, and desperately tried to leave his criminal life behind him. But using a ton of ill-gotten gains, he invests heavily in Las Vegas properties. Congress is conducting an investigation into gambling that could destroy his casino business and even land him in jail. An FBI agent plans to take Danny down for major sins he’d like to repent for. Meanwhile, can he make peace with his enemies? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Even if the parties involved want to put the past behind them, the trouble is that they don’t trust each other. Is Vern Winegard setting Dan up? Is Dan setting Vern up? “Trust? Trust is children waiting for Santa Claus.” So what could have been a “Kumbaya,” nobody-wants-to-read-this story turns into a grisly bloodletting filled with language that would set Sister Mary Margaret’s wimple on fire—figuratively speaking, as she’s not in the book. But the Catholic reference is appropriate: Two of the many colorful characters of ill repute are known as the Altar Boys, serving “Last Communion” to their victims. On the law-abiding side and out of the line of fire is an ex-nun-turned-prosecutor nicknamed Attila the Nun, who’s determined to bring justice for a gory matricide. (Rhode Island really had such a person, by the way.) Finally, the prose is just fun: A friend warns Dan about Allie Licata: “In a world of sick fucks, even the sick fucks think Licata’s a sick fuck.” A couple of things to note: This not only ends the trilogy, but it also closes out the author’s career, as he has said he’ll write no more novels.

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780063079472

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

The ne’er-do-well son of a successful Irish American family gets dragged into criminal complications that suggest the rest of the Devlins aren’t exactly the upstanding citizens they appear.

The first 35 years in the life of Thomas “TJ” Devlin have been one disappointment after another to his parents, lawyers who founded a prosperous insurance and reinsurance firm, and his more successful siblings, John and Gabby. A longtime alcoholic who’s been unemployable ever since he did time for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend Carrie’s then 2-year-old daughter, TJ is nominally an investigator for Devlin & Devlin, but everyone knows the post is a sinecure. Things change dramatically when golden-boy John tells TJ that he just killed Neil Lemaire, an accountant for D&D client Runstan Electronics. Their speedy return to the murder scene reveals no corpse, so the brothers breathe easier—until Lemaire turns up shot to death in his car. John’s way of avoiding anything that might jeopardize his status as heir apparent to D&D is to throw TJ under the bus, blaming him for everything John himself has done and adding that you can’t trust anything his brother has said since he’s fallen off the wagon. TJ, who’s maintained his sobriety a day at a time for nearly two years, feels outraged, but neither the police investigating the murder nor his nearest and dearest care about his feelings. Forget the forgettable mystery, whose solution will leave you shrugging instead of gasping, and focus on the circular firing squad of the Devlins, and you’ll have a much better time than TJ.

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780525539704

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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