Robie and Reel fans will thrill to see their favorite spies back in action, no matter what the setting.

THE TARGET

Baldacci picks up where he left off with CIA assassins Will Robie and Jessica Reel in this no-holds-barred tale of perfidy and murder at the highest level.

The president, the director of the CIA and the president’s national security adviser meet in secret to hatch a plot to kill the dangerous and unpredictable leader of North Korea. Evan Tucker, the slimy CIA head, decides to use Robie and Reel, whose last mission ended in the deaths of other agency personnel. But first he sends them to the Burner Box, a training facility in rural North Carolina, where they’re subjected to everything from near-fatal waterboarding to food and sleep deprivation. When a North Korean operative discovers the mission and blows it out of the water, Robie and Reel are sent to clean up the mess. Meanwhile, Julie, a young girl they know from a previous mission that’s never fully explained here, is captured by a group of Nazi sympathizers intent on getting to Reel. Baldacci’s prose crackles with urgency, and both spies, although psychological messes, are at the tops of their games. But this novel’s construction proves both puzzling and distracting: Baldacci spins a compelling, although much of the time improbable, tale revolving around the failed strike at North Korea, taking up about a third of the book. The second third veers into Reel’s neo-Nazi past and takes the story so far afield that they seem like different novels. The final third returns to the Korean storyline, with the results being oddly fragmented. Some scenes set in a Korean concentration camp prove the most compelling by far, especially with their heartbreaking descriptions of lives that are almost too terrible to contemplate.

Robie and Reel fans will thrill to see their favorite spies back in action, no matter what the setting.

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4555-2123-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

ARCHIE GOES HOME

In Archie Goodwin's 15th adventure since the death of his creator, Rex Stout, his gossipy Aunt Edna Wainwright lures him from 34th Street to his carefully unnamed hometown in Ohio to investigate the death of a well-hated bank president.

Tom Blankenship, the local police chief, thinks there’s no case since Logan Mulgrew shot himself. But Archie’s mother, Marjorie Goodwin, and Aunt Edna know lots of people with reason to have killed him. Mulgrew drove rival banker Charles Purcell out of business, forcing Purcell to get work as an auto mechanic, and foreclosed on dairy farmer Harold Mapes’ spread. Lester Newman is convinced that Mulgrew murdered his ailing wife, Lester’s sister, so that he could romance her nurse, Carrie Yeager. And Donna Newman, Lester’s granddaughter, might have had an eye on her great-uncle’s substantial estate. Nor is Archie limited to mulling over his relatives’ gossip, for Trumpet reporter Verna Kay Padgett, whose apartment window was shot out the night her column raised questions about the alleged suicide, is perfectly willing to publish a floridly actionable summary of the leading suspects that delights her editor, shocks Archie, and infuriates everyone else. The one person missing is Archie’s boss, Nero Wolfe (Death of an Art Collector, 2019, etc.), and fans will breathe a sigh of relief when he appears at Marjorie’s door, debriefs Archie, notices a telltale clue, prepares dinner for everyone, sleeps on his discovery, and arranges a meeting of all parties in Marjorie’s living room in which he names the killer.

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5040-5988-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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