For readers who dream of hit men whose barks are worse than their bites.

SHADOWS IN DEATH

The savage gutting of a wine-and-spirits heiress in Washington Square Park brings Lt. Eve Dallas up against a baleful killer with both eyes firmly fixed on her husband and his family.

Wine distributor Jorge Tween shows so little emotion over the death of Galla Modesto, the wife he obviously married for her family’s money, that Eve and her partner, Detective Delia Peabody, instantly conclude that he’s behind her death. Since his home-monitoring system gives him a cast-iron alibi, it would be clear that he hired a contractor even if Eve’s husband, Roarke, hadn’t recognized a balefully familiar figure first staring at him, then running from the crime scene. The hit man is Lorcan Cobbe, an enforcer for Roarke’s late mobster father back in Dublin who’s convinced that he’s Patrick Roarke’s illegitimate son and that the billions Roarke made before and after he walked away from crime to marry Eve ought to be his. “This is almost too easy,” says Peabody, and she’s absolutely right. Once Eve and Peabody, in the most predictably entertaining sequence of this installment, have extracted a confession from Tween, it’s all Cobbe, all the time. Although the presumed killer has been a suspect or a person of interest in no less than 443 murders, his obsession with destroying Roarke and his relatives seems to lead him to act as incautiously and amateurishly as his client, and with a lot less excuse. Even the final sequence, in which Eve and Roarke take down the allegedly indestructible Cobbe, then turn him loose so that the two ancient antagonists can duke it out with bare fists, is comically anticlimactic.

For readers who dream of hit men whose barks are worse than their bites.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-25-020723-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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