Low-key, highly professional work right up to the unmasking of the surprisingly well-hidden killer.


Taking time away from his duties as a Cambridgeshire DCI, Arthur St. Just travels with his all-but-fiancee Portia De’Ath to the picturesque village of Maidsfell for a quiet vacation. Guess what happens next.

Sad to say, Maidsfell has been ripe for murder for a long time. Celebrity chef Jake Trotter and Michelin star–winner Morwenna Wells are fierce rivals. Fisherman Will Ivey and estate agent Cynthia Beck, agitators who support the Save Our Shore initiative, are bitterly opposed by townsfolk convinced that new development is their only salvation from the plague of Covid-19. The Rev. Judith Abernathy, the curate presiding over St. Cuthbert’s while vicar Peder Wolfe dries out in rehab, is recently widowed, and Morwenna and Wiccan practitioner Sybil Gosling are both mourning daughters, Sybil’s killed by a drunk driver, Morwenna’s by a leap from the Fourteen Maidens, the cliffside standing stones that had been the village’s sole claim to fame. Suddenly, however, the murder of Lord Titus Bodwally, the life peer of Revellick House who’s a not-so-silent partner in Jake’s restaurant, beckons unwelcome new media attention. DCI Tomas Mousse, of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, urges St. Just, who hasn’t had a published case since Death at the Alma Mater(2010), to step in. Partnered by Portia, a Cambridge don in criminology with a sideline writing detective novels, St. Just begins questioning the suspects just as the murderer strikes again. The news that Bodwally ate a poisonous fish before he was stabbed to death scuttles any hopes that Portia’s latest title, No Crime Like the Present, will be prophetic.

Low-key, highly professional work right up to the unmasking of the surprisingly well-hidden killer.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7278-5038-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

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Meet today’s LAPD, with both good and bad apples reduced to reacting to crimes defensively instead of trying to prevent them, unless of course they’re willing to break the rules.

New Year’s Eve 2020 finds Detective Renée Ballard, survivor of rape and Covid-19, partnered with Detective Lisa Moore, of Hollywood’s Sexual Assault Unit, in search of leads on the Midnight Men, a tag team of rapists who assaulted women on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve without leaving any forensic evidence behind. The pair are called to the scene of a shooting that would have gone to West Bureau Homicide if the unit weren’t already stretched to the limit, a case that should be handed over to West Bureau ASAP. But Ballard gets her teeth into the murder of body shop owner Javier Raffa, who reportedly bought his way out of the gang Las Palmas. The news that Raffa’s been shot by the same weapon that killed rapper Albert Lee 10 years ago sends Ballard once more to Harry Bosch, the poster boy for retirements that drive the LAPD crazy. Both victims had taken on silent partners in order to liquidate their debts, and there’s every indication that the partners were linked. That’s enough for Ballard and Bosch to launch a shadow investigation even as Ballard, abandoned by Moore, who’s flown the coop for the weekend, works feverishly to identify the Midnight Men on her own. As usual in this stellar series, the path to the last act is paved with false leads, interdepartmental squabbles, and personal betrayals, and the structure sometimes sways in the breeze. But no one who follows Ballard and Bosch to the end will be disappointed.

A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48564-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Slow moving and richly layered.


A retired cop takes one last case in this stand-alone novel from the creator of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Originally from North Carolina, Cal Hooper has spent the last 30 years in Chicago. “A small place. A small town in a small country”: That’s what he’s searching for when he moves to the West of Ireland. His daughter is grown, his wife has left him, so Cal is on his own—until a kid named Trey starts hanging around. Trey’s brother is missing. Everyone believes that Brendan has run off just like his father did, but Trey thinks there’s more to the story than just another young man leaving his family behind in search of money and excitement in the city. Trey wants the police detective who just emigrated from America to find out what’s really happened to Brendan. French is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few. Cal is a new arrival to an insular community, and he’s about to discover that he didn’t leave crime and violence behind when he left the big city. Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French's latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments.

Slow moving and richly layered.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-73-522465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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