One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

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LONG RANGE

Once again, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets mixed up in a killing whose principal suspect is his old friend Nate Romanowski, whose attempts to live off the grid keep breaking down in a series of felony charges.

If Judge Hewitt hadn’t bent over to pick up a spoon that had fallen from his dinner table, the sniper set up nearly a mile from his house in the gated community of the Eagle Mountain Club would have ended his life. As it was, the victim was Sue Hewitt, leaving the judge alive and free to rail and threaten anyone he suspected of the shooting. Incoming Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Brendan Kapelow’s interest in using the case to promote his political ambitions and the judge’s inability to see further than his nose make them the perfect targets for a frame-up of Nate, who just wants to be left alone in the middle of nowhere to train his falcons and help his bride, Liv Brannon, raise their baby, Kestrel. Nor are the sniper, the sheriff, and the judge Nate’s only enemies. Orlando Panfile has been sent to Wyoming by the Sinaloan drug cartel to avenge the deaths of the four assassins whose careers Nate and Joe ended last time out (Wolf Pack, 2019). So it’s up to Joe, with some timely data from his librarian wife, Marybeth, to hire a lawyer for Nate, make sure he doesn’t bust out of jail before his trial, identify the real sniper, who continues to take an active role in the proceedings, and somehow protect him from a killer who regards Nate’s arrest as an unwelcome complication. That’s quite a tall order for someone who can’t shoot straight, who keeps wrecking his state-issued vehicles, and whose appalling mother-in-law, Missy Vankeuren Hand, has returned from her latest European jaunt to suck up all the oxygen in Twelve Sleep County to hustle some illegal drugs for her cancer-stricken sixth husband. But fans of this outstanding series will know better than to place their money against Joe.

One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: “This is America. This is Wyoming.”

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53823-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Utter non-scents.

MURDER MAKES SCENTS

Die-hard Yankee candle maker Stella Wright (Murder’s No Votive Confidence, 2018) gets caught up in a trans-Atlantic murder plot.

Stella thoroughly enjoys her trip to Paris even though her mother, perfume expert Millie Wright, who’s scheduled to speak on a panel entitled “The Art of Scent Extractions” at the World Perfumery Conference, gets preempted by a murder. Sadly, once they’re back home in Nantucket, things get even weirder. Stella receives an anonymous note threatening her mom if Stella doesn’t turn over a secret formula hidden in Millie’s bag. Her mom can’t help because she’s in the hospital courtesy of an overenthusiastic attempt by Stella’s cat, Tinker, to befriend her. While trespassing on a suspicious sailboat, Stella meets U.S. Agent Sarah Hill, who warns her that well-known anarchist Rex Laruam plans to disrupt the upcoming Peace Jubilee using a stolen formula he secreted in Millie’s bag after he stabbed the agent guarding it back in Paris. Ignoring the advice of her friend Andy Southerland, a Nantucket cop, to leave detection to the professionals, Stella tries to unmask the elusive Laruam. As she spies on a bevy of unlikely suspects, the plot spirals further and further out of control: There’s a Canadian couple staying at an Airbnb run by Stella’s cousin Chris who whisper sweet but suspicious nothings in the dark, a shovel-wielding schoolmarm, a gang of old geezers who have a collective crush on Millie, a surprise 30th-birthday party planned by Stella’s beau, Peter Bailey, and an even more surprising impromptu airplane ride.

Utter non-scents.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2141-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A middling mystery with telling historical details and the usual pleasures provided by the regulars’ interpersonal dynamics.

MURDER ON PLEASANT AVENUE

A plucky group of early-20th-century detectives (Murder on Trinity Place, 2019, etc.) takes on the Black Hand.

The leads include Frank Malloy and Gino Donatelli, former police officers who started a detective agency after an unexpected legacy made Malloy a wealthy man; Malloy’s wife, Sarah, the daughter of a wealthy society family who runs a maternity clinic for the poor; and their nanny, Maeve, a budding sleuth who works in Malloy’s office. All of them leap to attention when Gino’s sister-in-law Teodora reports that Jane Harding, a worker at the settlement house where Teo volunteers, has been kidnapped by the Black Hand, who are notorious for abducting the wives and children of anyone who can afford to pay ransom. The New York Police Department is corrupt, and the local Italian immigrants never report crimes. Mr. McWilliam, who runs the settlement house, had asked Jane to marry him, but she’d asked him to allow her to experience more of the single life before deciding. Seeking clues, Sarah visits Mrs. Cassidi, an earlier kidnapping victim who’s refused to talk to anyone, in hopes that her nursing experience and sympathetic manner will get results. Mrs. Cassidi admits to being raped but knows little about where she was held captive, a quiet place in a house where she could hear children. Soon after Nunzio Esposito, a leader of the Black Hand, tells Malloy that no one’s been taken from the settlement house, Jane suddenly reappears but refuses to discuss where she’s been. Lisa Prince, Jane’s well-to-do cousin, reluctantly agrees to take her in even though Jane’s jealous of her wealth and can be unpleasant to deal with. When Esposito’s found murdered in a flat he rented for his mistress, Gino, who’s just arrived on the scene, is arrested. Now the clever sleuths must solve both the murder and the abductions to clear Gino’s name.

A middling mystery with telling historical details and the usual pleasures provided by the regulars’ interpersonal dynamics.

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0574-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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