A formulaic twofer combines some interesting philosophical questions with more familiar charges of Beltway corruption that...

ENIGMA

Not one but two exciting new cases for Coulter’s FBI (Insidious, 2016, etc.).

Much to the displeasure of Detective Aldo Mayer of the D.C. Metro Police, Special Agent Dillon Savitch sneaks into the home of Kara Moody, a pregnant woman who's being held hostage by a seemingly crazy young man who's raving about unspecified dangers to both of them. After Savitch is forced to shoot the unidentified man, both he and Kara end up in the hospital—Kara in labor. Savitch is worried about the John Doe, who's still unconscious, and asks the police to provide protection, which Mayer pulls without timely notification. Only the presence of Kara, who's visiting his hospital room, saves the man from an assassin. When Kara’s newborn son, Alex, is kidnapped from the hospital, Savitch thinks finding his father may provide answers. Unfortunately, Kara remembers nothing of the party she attended at a friend’s house where she suspects she was roofied, raped, and impregnated. Savitch’s wife, Sherlock, works with the team that’s been set up to find missing babies while Savitch hunts for answers to the unidentified man’s background and an unusual drug found in his system. Meanwhile, Irish charmer Liam Hennessey , who prefers the moniker Manta Ray, is daringly broken loose while he’s on his way to prison for robbery and murder. Savitch asks ex–Army Ranger Special Agent Jack Cabot to join one of his new agents, Cam Wittier, in leading the manhunt because he knows that the escapee and his rescuers are headed into the Daniel Boone National Forest. The pair join a forest ranger and Police Chief Harbinger in a dangerous hunt. Hennessey, who had hidden the proceeds from his robbery of a bank's safe-deposit vaults, has apparently been freed by someone desperate to get back one of the missing items. In order to solve both cases, Savitch and his teams must go way beyond ordinary police work to come up with some surprising and horrifying motives.

A formulaic twofer combines some interesting philosophical questions with more familiar charges of Beltway corruption that could be ripped from the latest headlines.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3806-5

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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A top-notch psychological thriller.

COLD COLD HEART

In Hoag’s (The 9th Girl, 2013, etc.) latest, talented young newscaster Dana Nolan is left to navigate a psychological maze after escaping a serial killer.

While recuperating at home in Shelby Mills, Indiana, Dana meets her former high school classmates John Villante and Tim Carver. Football hero Tim is ashamed of flunking out of West Point, and now he’s a sheriff’s deputy. After Iraq and Afghanistan tours, John’s home with PTSD, "angry and bitter and dark." Dana survived abduction by serial killer Doc Holiday, but she still suffers from the gruesome attack by "the man who ruined her life, destroyed her career, shattered her sense of self, damaged her brain and her face." What binds the trio is their friend Casey Grant, who's been missing five years, perhaps also a Holiday victim, even if "[t]he odds against that kind of coincidence had to be astronomical." Hoag’s first 100 pages are a gut-wrenching dissection of the aftereffects of traumatic brain injury: Dana is plagued by "[f]ear, panic, grief, and anger" and haunted by fractured memories and nightmares. "Before Dana had believed in the inherent good in people. After Dana knew firsthand their capacity for evil." Impulsive and paranoid, Dana obsesses over linking Casey’s disappearance to Holiday, with her misfiring brain convincing her that "finding the truth about what had happened to Casey [was] her chance of redemption." But then Hoag tosses suspects into the narrative faster than Dana can count: Roger Mercer, Dana’s self-absorbed state senator stepfather; Mack Villante, who left son John with "no memories of his father that didn’t include drunkenness and cruelty"; even Hardy, the hard-bitten, cancer-stricken detective who investigated Casey’s disappearance. Tense, tightly woven, with every minor character, from Dana’s fiercely protective aunt to Mercer’s pudgy campaign chief, ratcheting up the tension, Hoag’s narrative explodes with an unexpected but believable conclusion.

A top-notch psychological thriller.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-95454-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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