The astute and unconventional Edwardian pair seem to have entered the pages of a gothic novel for an exhilarating new tale...

A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION

An intrepid lepidopterist and her sometime lover are caught up in yet another extravagant adventure in 1888.

Returning to London from Madeira, Veronica Speedwell gets the cold shoulder from her companion in mystery solving, Stoker Templeton-Vane (A Treacherous Curse, 2018, etc.), who’s still furious that he was left out of the unexplained trip. He’s not happy, either, that his elder brother, Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, wants Veronica to accompany him to St. Maddern's Isle off the coast of Cornwall to visit the castle of his old friend Malcolm Romilly, who’s promised to give Veronica some larvae of the Romilly Glasswing butterfly, thought to be extinct. What Tiberius doesn't tell Veronica—yet—is that she'll have to pose as his fiancee to gain the approval of their Catholic host, who wouldn't approve of an unchaperoned single woman. Upon their arrival in Cornwall, they find Stoker, refusing to be left out, waiting to join a group that includes Malcolm; his sister, Mertensia, a tireless gardener; his sister-in-law, Helen; her son, Caspian; and a crew of servants directed by longtime family retainer Mrs. Trengrouse. The island is large enough for farms and a village whose superstitious natives tell tales of piskies and mermaids. Stoker and his brother constantly snipe over Veronica, whom Tiberius works to seduce and Stoker secretly wants to marry. Although she loves Stoker, Veronica fears he’s never gotten over the dreadful marriage that almost killed him and is so independent herself that she’s afraid to commit to more than a physical relationship. Meanwhile, Malcolm’s wife, Rosamund, vanished on their wedding day three years ago, and no one knows whether she’s dead or alive. When Malcolm’s discovery of Rosamund’s traveling bag makes it all but certain that she’s dead, he asks for Veronica and Stoker's help in finding out what happened to her. Slowly, secrets from the past are revealed, and the sleuths find themselves threatened by someone desperate to keep those secrets buried forever.

The astute and unconventional Edwardian pair seem to have entered the pages of a gothic novel for an exhilarating new tale full of wild adventures and treacherous relationships.

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-49071-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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