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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Box handles this foolproof formula with complete assurance, keeping the pot at a full boil until the perfunctory,...

THE HIGHWAY

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Breaking Point, 2013, etc.) works the area around Yellowstone National Park in this stand-alone about a long-haul trucker with sex and murder on his mind.

The Lizard King, as he calls himself, normally targets lot lizards—prostitutes who work the parking lots adjacent to the rest stops that dot interstate highways. But he’s more than happy to move up to a higher class of victim when he runs across the Sullivan sisters. Danielle, 18, and Gracie, 16, are supposed to be driving from their mother’s home in Denver to their father’s in Omaha, but Danielle has had the bright idea of heading instead to Bozeman, Mont., to visit her boyfriend, Justin Hoyt. Far from home, their whereabouts known to only a few people, the girls are the perfect victims even before they nearly collide with the Lizard King’s rig and Danielle flips him off. Hours later, very shortly after he’s caught up with them in the depths of Yellowstone and done his best to eradicate every trace of his abduction, Justin, worried that Danielle refused his last phone call, tells his father that something bad has happened. Cody Hoyt, an investigator for the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Department, is already having a tough day: At the insistence of his crooked boss, Sheriff Tubman, his longtime student and new partner, Cassandra Dewell, has just caught him planting evidence in an unrelated murder, and he’s been suspended from his job. If he’s lost his badge, though, Cody’s got plenty of time on his hands to drive downstate and meet with State Trooper Rick Legerski, the ex-husband of his dispatcher’s sister, to talk about what to do next. And so the countdown begins.

Box handles this foolproof formula with complete assurance, keeping the pot at a full boil until the perfunctory, anticlimactic and unsatisfactory ending.

Pub Date: July 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-58320-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Not terribly suspenseful, but as a dissection of a family in crisis, it works.

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY

In Swedish author Edvardsson’s U.S debut, a family is shattered by a heinous crime.

Adam is a well-respected pastor, and his wife, Ulrika, is a defense attorney. Their daughter, Stella, has just turned 18 and is planning a trip to Asia. From the outside, the Sandells are the perfect family, but that facade crumbles when Stella is arrested for the brutal stabbing of 32-year-old Christopher Olsen at a playground. On the night of the murder, Adam finds Stella’s shirt covered in dark stains; he will do anything to keep his daughter out of prison, including providing a false alibi, but his decision contradicts his faith and shakes him to his core. The story is told in three parts, from the viewpoints of Adam, Stella, and Ulrika. Adam presents Stella as a troubled child and out-of-control teen. Stella reveals that much of her acting out stemmed from her desire to control her own life, her father’s overprotectiveness, and her mother’s perceived coldness. Further, Adam and Ulrika’s failure to report a sexual assault on Stella by a trusted camp director when Stella was 15 created a permanent fissure in the family. Stella’s whirlwind affair with the wealthy and attentive Chris is complicated by his ex-girlfriend, who tells Stella he’s abusive. The romance eventually spins out of control, but could Stella be a killer? Much of Ulrika’s narrative is spent in the courtroom during Stella’s murder trial, which may lead some readers to feel like she got short shrift. In between flashes of courtroom drama, Ulrika contemplates her marriage, motherhood, and her alienation in the face of what she felt was an impenetrable relationship between Adam and Stella. The murder mystery falls a bit flat and the resolution is overly neat, but Edvardsson ably weaves themes of parental guilt and sacrifice into a nuanced family drama.

Not terribly suspenseful, but as a dissection of a family in crisis, it works.

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20443-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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